Child Support: Who Pays College Expenses?
With the multiple issues that must be addressed during the divorce process, it is understandable that tackling the subject of your child’s future college expenses can feel overwhelming, especially when such educational concerns are not immediate. Preparing to fund an education set to take place in the very distant future may not be the first priority on your list while going through a divorce, but it is still an important task when it comes to securing the proper financial means for your child to expand their education down the road.
Who Is Responsible After the Split?
In many states across the nation, Illinois included, courts recognize a child’s need for a college education. This means the courts may have the right to order one or both parties in the divorce to pay for an array of college expenses for the child they share together. They may do this by tapping into the property and income of each parent, or even through the estate of a deceased parent. The law requires the petition for these funds to be raised within a certain timeframe.
Similar to awarding child support values, the amounts the court may order one (or both) of the parties to pay toward a child’s college expenses greatly depend on the circumstances, and the agreement must be negotiated. The court will take many factors into consideration before determining a certain amount. For example, at the time of the hearing, the party’s financial resources will be taken into account. The court may even look at a new spouse’s income. Say you remarry not long after your divorce and begin petitioning for financial help from your ex for your child’s college costs. If your new spouse makes a significant amount of money that raises your overall income considerably, the court may add that hike in income to the equation. So, the question of who is responsible for your child’s college costs will ultimately depend on a combination of these factors.
Which Expenses Count?
Educational expenses for a non-minor child can vary in nature. They are generally defined by tuition, fees, room and board, books, and personal expenses, but can also include everything from transportation costs and even some health costs. Delving into which expenses should be covered can be tricky, which is why it is important to create a thorough college support agreement that dictates the percentages of expenses each party is responsible for and that clearly outlines any limits. Some agreements even place restrictions on the educational institutions the child may choose to attend, in order to control and limit tuition costs.
The energy and financial arrangements required to negotiate college support agreements for your non-minor child can be time-consuming and emotionally draining, but if you desire to look after their educational wellbeing, the hard work can pay off in the end. If you are in need of assistance with your divorce proceedings and want help initiating college expense agreements, speak with a knowledgeable Kane County divorce attorney today. Call Shaw Sanders, P.C., P.C at 630-584-5550 for a personal consultation.