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Planning for Children's College Expenses in Your Divorce Settlement

Posted on in College Expenses

college expenses, divorced parents, Napervile child support lawyerFunding a college education for one child or several is a challenging endeavor for most families. Regardless of whether the parents of the children wishing to attend college are married or divorced, the current costs of higher education in the U.S. are daunting to say the least. However, for families that are being managed by divorced co-parents, the finances and logistics of paying for college or university often have an extra level of difficulty. This is particularly true if the divorce occurred when the children were young and no advance provisions were made in the divorce settlement.

Settlement Agreements Often Fail to Include College Expense Planning

Marital settlement agreements can often fail to designate each parent’s financial responsibilities for the children’s advanced education for a variety of reasons. With so many issues to be agreed upon during the divorce process, the added stress of pre-planning a large, but unknown, future expense can be easily relegated to an issue of lesser overall importance at the time. However, if and when the children in question begin the college admissions process, many couples discover that defining their individual responsibilities regarding college tuition and expenses at the time of the divorce settlement would have been a more prudent decision.

Illinois state law mandates that in the event of divorce, children maintain a right to receive financial contributions of college tuition and expenses from both parents. If the divorce settlement did not define each parent’s obligations, the default language will typically state that matter of the minor child(ren)’s cost of higher education is reserved per Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5/513.

Children As Third Party Beneficiaries

In families where the divorce settlement agreement does define the responsibility of both parents in terms of financial obligation for the college expenses of their child(ren); the parties’ agreement has been stipulated to by the court. In such cases the child or children in question are viewed by the court as a third party beneficiary. As a third party beneficiary, the child(ren) have the right to seek remedy from the court to enforce the agreement if necessary.

If you are a parent, it is never too soon to begin planning for your child’s future education expenses. This is even more important if you are considering a separation or divorce action. It is prudent to consult with a Naperville family law attorney to review your personal circumstances as soon as possible. Please call the Pesce Law Group, P.C. today at 630-352-2240 to schedule your free initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.

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