In Illinois, during a divorce even with young children, the court typically will handle the issue when it comes to college and college expenses. Where it has typically been governed by statute, it was not until 2016 that the Illinois legislature took their time in really explaining how college expenses would be handled going forward (750 ILCS 5/513)
It is important to remember that contribution to college expenses is not the same as child support. College expenses include the following: tuition, room and board, and book costs. If divorced parents cannot come to an agreement on how to pay for college, you will need to consult your divorce decree or parenting agreement to see if it addresses this issue. Otherwise, you will need to return to court, and a judge will determine how college will be paid for per the statute.
In order to make a determination the court examines the following:
1. Each parent’s income and their ability to contribute. This is different from child support wherein the court currently only looks at the income of the none-custodial parent.
2. The child’s ability to contribute. The court will examine financial aid, scholarships, grants and/or work study or if the child has a job how much if any, he or she can contribute.
3. The child’s academic performance. In order for the court to continue to award child support, the child must maintain a 2.5 GPA.
4. Access to information. Typically the money for college/college expenses is not given to the other parent, it is paid directly to the school. A parent has to have access in order to make those payments and should be able to access the student’s grades as well.
5. Also the contribution to tuition is capped at the cost of tuition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign at the time of the student’s enrollment.
Speak to an attorney today if you want to discuss college expenses: (312) 981-0096