Who Is Responsible For Your Child’s Expenses?

Who Is Responsible For Your Child’s Expenses?

Raising a child is expensive.

From diapers in the beginning to sports gear in high school, the bills never really go away. The latest data suggests raising a child who is born in 2013 into a middle-income family will cost more than $245,000 between birth and the child’s 18th birthday, The Wall Street Journal reported. However, this data does not take college into consideration. For divorced or non-married parents, your child may be eager to go to college, which raises some questions. Do you have to pay for it? Under Illinois law, support may not entirely end when your child is 18. As a parent, you can be ordered to contribute to your adult child’s higher education expenses.
Illinois Law Related to College Expenses Under 750 ILCS 5/513, you can be required to contribute to college expenses until your child is 23 years old – or until he or she is 25 years old with a showing of good cause. A judge will take into consideration each parent’s income, your child’s financial resources, your child’s academic performance, the cost of the college or university, and the standard of living your child would have enjoyed if you and the other parent were married. With these factors in mind, you can be ordered to pay a small or significant percentage of your child’s educational expenses. Additionally, the court can require you, your child, and the other parent to apply for federal and other financial aid to reduce costs. The Breadth of College Expenses the court does not qualify every cost potentially relating to going to college as an educational expense. Illinois law establishes limitations. When your child is applying for colleges, the court can require you to contribute to up to five college application fees, two standardized college entrance tests and one standardized college entrance exam prep course. Educational expenses clearly include tuition and fees. However, the court will only provide for tuition and fees up to the cost of these expenses for a student of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the same academic year. These expenses also include housing, either on or off campus. However, like tuition and fees, housing expenses are capped at the cost of a double-occupancy dormitory room with a standard meal plan at The University of Illinois (C/U) for the same academic year. You may also be required to contribute to your child’s medical expenses, books and supplies.

How Support is Paid

There are multiple ways your contribution to college expenses can be made. You may be required to pay the college or university directly, your child, the other parent, or into a trust account established for college expenses.

Avoiding Court

If you and your child’s other parent know your child is headed to college, you can sit down and come to your own decision on how these expenses will be covered. While Illinois law prescribes how courts can handle this situation, you do not automatically have to go to court to address this issue. With the help of your attorney, you and your child’s other parent can discuss fair contributions that will enable your child to attend school without taking on the expense entirely by him or herself. It is also possible to use mediation to guide the conversation.

A Chicago Child Support Lawyer Can Help. If you have questions, require help negotiating or if it impossible to reach an amicable decision regarding your child’s college expenses with his or her other parent, I can help you in court. Whether you need the other parent to contribute or the other parent is demanding your financial assistance, I can represent your interests before a judge. Call my office at (312) 621-5234 or email me to schedule an initial consultation.


Attorney Michael C. Craven


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About author

Michael Craven
Michael Craven 21 posts

Michael C. Craven is a well-known divorce attorney in Chicago, CPA and a partner of the law firm, Harrison & Held, LLP, located in the Chicago area. He is highly respected among other divorce attorneys, judges and his clients. He also holds a Master of Tax Law Degree (LLM). For more information about his services, contact Michael at mcraven@harrisonheld.com or at Divorce Lawyers Chicago.

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