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College and Medical Expenses in DuPage County

Naperville Attorneys for Post-Divorce Matters

A growing minority of states, including Illinois, may require divorced parents to share college expenses in some way, shape or form. Most divorce decrees in Illinois, unless the children are already at college age, contain a reservation clause, which states that postsecondary educational expenses will be divided at a later date. The judge then has the power to apportion costs between the parents if appropriate.

In a similar vein, many children may incur medical bills and costs that are not covered by insurance. These items include copays, deductibles, and costs that the insurance company refuses to pay, for whatever reason(s). A judge must divide these expenses in an equitable manner.

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we understand that children need complete emotional and financial support from both parents, if at all possible. Our professionals work hard to develop a cost-sharing plan that will withstand judicial scrutiny. If the matter proceeds to a hearing, we are strong advocates for your legal and financial rights.

College Expenses

Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act sets the substantive law for dividing postsecondary expenses. The court may order a division based on:

  • Financial Resources of Both Parents: As with a regular child support calculation, the court will consider the income of both parents.
  • Child's Academic Performance: This prong examines the children's ability to gain admission into, and graduate from, a certain type of institution.
  • Standard of Living a Non-Divided Family Would Have Had: Divorce typically reduces the standard of living for both parents, and the court must look past these changes, since it was parents' decision to divorce and not the children's choice.
  • Child's Financial Resources: The judge can consider both income, such as a part-time or full-time job, and the ability to obtain student loans.

Procedurally, most courts do not allow a parent to ask for reimbursement. Judges will only make prospective awards based on eligible post-high school expenses.

Medical Expenses

Under Section 505, a court may order additional child support to provide for "health needs not covered by insurance." This small phrase contains many meanings.

"Health needs" generally is inclusive of doctor bills, medical equipment, prescription drugs, and rehabilitative care. While there is a difference between "needs" and "wants," there is a very large grey area between these two extremes. The insurance company usually has guidelines as to what is medically necessary in a given situation.

The second part--"not covered by insurance"--often begs the question of why the company refused coverage. Was the refusal based on a policy or based on errant claim submission? A judge typically orders the supporting parent to cover expenses in the first category as well as contribute to the second one.

Regular child support payments may only be part of a child support order. Contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. today at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation. We serve families throughout DuPage County and neighboring jurisdictions.

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