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DuPage County Attorneys

LOMBARD

900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100

BLOOMINGDALE

134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761

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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in college expenses

Lombard family law attorneysCollege is undoubtedly one of the most expensive investments that you will ever make. As college and university tuition prices continue to rise, it may seem impossible to help pay for your child’s tuition. When couples decide to have kids, oftentimes they will create a separate savings account that will be used towards their children’s tuition. However, the steady increase of tuition costs and the day-to-day costs of raising a child can leave these accounts inadequate to cover the child’s costs as they settle on which college or university to attend. 

For divorcing parents, things become even more complicated. In Illinois, divorced parents are required to create a parenting plan that outlines the details of parental responsibilities, parenting schedules, and child support obligations. Unlike some other states, Illinois law addresses the topic of costs associated with college, requiring many parents to help fund their child’s education.

Educational Costs

As a parent reviewing your child’s post-high school options, you may be intimidated by the cost of college. In order to give children with divorced parents the same financial support as those whose parents are still married, a family court judge can require you to assist with the following costs. Because state schools are typically more affordable than private institutions, Illinois law uses the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I) as its reference point.

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college expenses in Illinois, DuPage County divorce attorneysMany parents begin saving for college when their children are young, giving their children a head-start on the ever-increasing cost of tuition. Unfortunately, some may eventually go through a divorce and, even though the college savings is ultimately for the child, it can become yet another bitter point in the battle. It does not have to be this way, though. In fact, many divorcing parents manage to co-save; the key is simply knowing how to discuss some important points.

Who Will the Child Live with Most?

Senate Bill 57 made quite a few changes to Illinois divorce laws, including the voiding of terms like "custody" and "visitation." However, one parent will likely still have the child more often. Knowing (or maybe even agreeing) which parent this will be ahead of time can save you a lot of trouble in the long run, and it can provide some important insight as to what each parent’s financial responsibilities will be in the years to come. This can help couples determine if their child may qualify for financial assistance, and it can provide a launching point for determining which parent will contribute more to the college savings plan.

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family law changes 2016, spousal maintenance, DuPage County child support lawuersSenate Bill 57 has significantly altered the laws and statutes of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act (IMDMA), including those that govern how child support and spousal maintenance are handled during divorce proceedings. Accurate information on these changes may be especially important for divorcing couples that have limited earning potential or excessive amounts of debt, or for those that have mentally or physically disabled children.

Changes to Illinois Spousal Maintenance Laws

Although it is extremely unlikely that every divorce action will include a provision for spousal maintenance, the changes brought about by Senate Bill 57 (effective January 1, 2016) have significantly altered how courts decide when to award spousal support. Now, financial obligations that have emerged from the divorce, along with realistic present and future earning potential are considered.

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college expensesIn 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.)

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