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Make provisions for college education when you divorce

No matter how old your children are when your marriage ends, you want to make sure they get the best possible start in life. In Illinois, state law actually requires parents to provide for their children as they pursue education after high school. 

When negotiating your divorce and child support agreement, review the requirements about support during the college years. 

What types of expenses qualify?

Illinois courts can mandate that parents cover the costs of vocational school, college, professional school or university for children ages 18 to 23. In addition to tuition and fees, the court order can include food, transportation, textbooks, health care costs, housing and other reasonable living expenses based on the average cost of living for a student in the current academic year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

What factors does the court consider?

When deciding on a fair contribution to college education costs, Illinois judges make sure that parents can save for their own retirements. They review the financial resources of both parents and the child, the child’s performance in college, and the family’s standard of living before and after the divorce. The court allows parents to end monetary support if the child completes a bachelor’s degree program, marries or becomes ill and cannot continue schooling. They cannot discontinue support if the child receives a jail sentence, joins the military or becomes pregnant. 

Parents can make their own decisions about providing support for college when they negotiate a prenuptial or divorce agreement. The judge will review these documents and make sure they adhere to state law.