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College Expenses: Child Support Past Age 18

 Posted on November 08, 2017 in College Expenses

DuPage County child support lawyersIn most cases, a parent’s child support obligations end when the child turns 18 years of age. However, there are some occasions where a parent may be required to contribute to their child’s expenses and upkeep even after the child reaches majority. The most common occasion is when college comes into question, but others exist.

What Should Be Covered?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act discusses the situations in which non-minor child support may be awarded by the court during a divorce proceeding or at a later date. The court may order support for an adult child who is mentally or physically disabled and will require an elevated level of care for the foreseeable future or for the educational expenses for a minor or non-minor child. While the care of a disabled child is a fairly straightforward endeavor, the question of what constitutes “educational expenses” and who should pay them can get quite complex.

The definition of education expenses that has been adopted by the Illinois courts is a fairly wide-ranging one, including not only tuition and room and board, but also things like medical expenses and travel (if required). The courts rationalize that without any one of these, it may become impossible to attend higher education in a reasonable manner. There are very few expenses that the courts have not ruled to be integral to studying higher education - however, the minimum is generally held to be sufficient. For example, if a college student needs to fly back to school at the beginning of the school year, they may do so, but paying for a first-class ticket is not required.

Who Should Pay?

In terms of who should pay, the recent trend has been to split costs equally. However, Illinois courts will take into account all the assets of each parent in determining an appropriate division, and will usually not make an impoverished parent pay the same share as a wealthy one. The court will also consider the needs of each parent, including those associated with retirement. There are even instances where the court will hold a child responsible for part of the expenses themselves if the child is able, either through scholarships and grants or his or her own resources.

Seek Experienced Assistance

If you are a divorced parent of a college-bound student, it is important to understand your potential obligations. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to discuss your case today. We will work with you every step of the way to come up with a plan designed to give you the highest chance of reaching a fair settlement, and to give your children the best chance to excel at school. Call 630-352-2240 for a confidential consultation.


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