Contribution to College Expenses
Illinois courts have the ability to order parents to contribute to their children’s college expenses, irrespective of whether the parties were married or not, which include tuition, room & board, book fees, registration, application fees, and other costs due to the university, and may also include contribution to the child’s living expenses (even if the child lives with one parent), transportation costs, health insurance and medical and dental expenses. This is limited only through a child’s attainment of a bachelor’s degree, and may have other limitations if the child is not enrolled as a full-time student, not maintaining at least a "C" grade average or upon a child's 23rd birthday (or 25th for good cause, like, a delayed start due to military service)
Unlike child support, the parents' contribution to college expenses is not dictated by a formula or guidelines, and is instead left to the discretion of the judge if contested or may be amicably resolved between the parties with the aid or counsel, including the mediation process. The following factors are relevant:
1.) The financial resources of both parents;
2.) The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parties’ marriage not been dissolved;
3.) The financial resources of the child;
4.) The child’s academic performance; and
5.) Any other factors the court deems relevant.
There is now a financial cap in place based upon the cost of tuition, fees, room-and-board (double occupancy, standard meal plan in a residence hall) at the University of Illinois, Champaign / Urbana, except in limited circumstances.
If you already have a judgment in place and are seeking contribution toward your child’s college expenses, the language of your judgment and the timing that you go to court is key. The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC can assist you in interpreting your judgment and enforcing or defending against a party's’ obligation to contribute to college, or in litigating or negotiating a new request for contribution.
Please contact The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC for a consultation regarding college contribution.