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Which Parent Pays a Child’s College Tuition After a Divorce?

 Posted on July 30, 2021 in Child Support

chicago divorce lawyerThe cost of college tuition continues to rise in the U.S. In fact, for the 2020-2021 school year, the average cost of tuition and fees was $41,411 for private colleges, $11,171 for state residents at public colleges, and $26,809 for out-of-state students at state schools. Parents who are getting a divorce may want to learn about who will be responsible for these costs when their child goes off to college. If you and your child’s other parent disagree about who will pay for college expenses, a skilled divorce lawyer can help.

Illinois Divorce Laws for College Tuition

In Illinois, divorced parents may be required to pay for their child’s college tuition. Parents may be required to contribute to their child’s:

  • Tuition, room, and board

  • Applications fees

  • Meal plans

  • Books

  • Medical and dental costs

Parents are only required to pay for their child’s undergraduate education. Payments will typically cease after a child’s 23rd birthday or when they get married. Illinois law also requires students to maintain at least a “C” average to continue receiving financial assistance from their parents. 

What Occurs if Parents Cannot Agree on Who Will Pay for College

If you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement on who should pay for your child’s college expenses, the matter may go to court. A judge will determine the allocation of college expenses between the parents and the child. Judges consider several factors before coming to a decision regarding college expenses, including: 

  • How much each parent earns each year

  • The child’s resources, including financial aid, student loans, and college savings accounts

  • Whether or not either parent supports additional children 

The court may require both parents to submit documents that provide proof of their employment, financial assets, and other financial information.

A judge can order a parent to make payments directly to the college, to the other parent, to directly to the child. If the paying parent willfully does not make the required payments, he or she can be held in contempt of court.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Paying for college is a significant expense for most families. If you are getting divorced and want to learn about your legal options for dividing your child’s college tuition, speak to a Naperville, IL divorce lawyer. Call Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240 to schedule a free consultation.


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