Educational Expenses for a Non-Minor Child

educational expenses, non-minor support, Illinois family lawyerThroughout the state of Illinois, many child support obligations end once the child has reached age 18 and has graduated high school.  In some cases, however, support obligations may continue after high school and into college, requiring one or both parents to contribute to the child’s post-secondary educational expenses. While the law permitting such support has been in force for a number of years, starting next January, an amendment clarifying certain provisions of the law will take effect.

Court Discretion

As the law currently stands, the courts is granted full authority over proceedings related to non-minor support. While certain statutory considerations are required, the court is granted full discretion over the appropriateness and amount of ordered support from each parent, as well as how such support is to be provided. Specifically, the court must consider:

  • The financial resources of both parents;
  • The financial resources of the non-minor child;
  • The lifestyle and standard of living the child could have expected if the parents stayed together; and
  • The academic performance of the child.

Obviously, a decision regarding support for educational expenses would also need to factor in the child’s choice of school, the estimated expenses to be incurred, the appropriateness of the program based on the child’s abilities, and more. With all of these taken into account, the court may require support to be paid to either parent, the child, the institution, or into an account or trust created for the purpose.

A Few Modifications

The new law, set to go into effect on January 1, 2016, makes three primary amendments to the provisions of the existing statute. While the court is still granted a large degree of discretion, guidelines will be in place regarding:

  • Age: Educational expenses eligible for support are to be incurred prior to the child reaching age 23, a limit that can be raised for good cause shown to 25;
  • Cost: Although associated costs may vary, such as medical insurance and transportation, eligible educational expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, and fees, are to be considered on the standard of an average student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Only a showing of good cause can allow the court to consider higher expenses; and
  • Performance: Support will be terminated if the child’s cumulative grade point average falls below a “C,” unless justifiable circumstances exits. Payments will also end if the child gets married prior to the completion of the degree program.

If you are being asked to provide support for your non-minor child to attend college, an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams for complimentary consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+V&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6100000&SeqEnd=8350000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/99/PDF/099-0090.pdf

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