In the past in Illinois and currently in many states, one of the expenses that is most forgotten about and least likely to be arbitrated comprises the tuition expenses for college. In most families that have not gone through a divorce, it would be the family helping out the non-minor with paying the tuition if it is financially viable for the parents. During a divorce, however, marital property may be divided and the child support may be administered for the daily care of the child; however, other expenses may be overlooked, including the tuition expenses currently incurred (with the child goes to private school), and later, the tuition expenses for that child to go to college.
Pre-IMDMA Illinois Case Law Surrounding Educational Expenses and Tuition
Before the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), Illinois made a significant push to incorporate tuition expenses for a non-minor child into the divorce settlement agreement. Many of the issues that came up looked at whether or not the tuition expenses were reasonable. For example, if a child was applying to an expensive private school out of state, would the court provide that as reasonable or should the child be only permitted to attend public college in-state? The court and its past case law provided that the non-minor would have to articulate and explain his/her educational choice and provide a reason why he/she should go to the college (and largely the justification for a more expensive school over a less expensive school.)
IMDMA Statutory Regulations on Educational Expenses for Non-Minor Children
The current IMDMA further outlines the issues surrounding the payment of educational expenses for a non-minor. According to the IMDMA, sec 513 requires that educational expenses should be brought to the Court’s attention through petition by the non-minor’s 23rd birthday (and with extenuating circumstances, no later than the non-minor’s 25th birthday). The court has the right to require that both parties and the child fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and it is up to the court’s discretion to allocate the funding of either or both parents to pay for up to five college applications, two standardized college entrance exams, and the cost for a standardized college entrance examination preparatory course.
Capping of Costs to Expenses at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Additionally, the educational expenses are generally capped at the actual cost of tuition and fees as long as they do not exceed the tuition and fees that are paid by a student to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, except if there is good cause shown. The child’s housing expenses (on campus or off campus) are also capped at the cost that housing expenses of the same year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign would be, except if good cause is shown. There are also requirements that the child’s medical expenses, medical insurance, reasonable living expenses, cost of books and other supplies are allocated between the two parties. Finally, if the child is living with one of the parties while attending school, the costs of living with that party are shared between the parties.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County
With the amendments made to the IMDMA, it may be confusing to know what exactly are your rights in a divorce. Educational expenses can create significant tension between parties and as such, it is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.
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