Awarding Educational Expenses
Under Illinois law, a family court judge can award educational expenses to the children of divorced parents to cover the costs of college or other professional training. Covered educational expenses may include:
- Room and board
- Transportation costs
- Registration and application costs
- Medical and dental expenses, including insurance
- Living expenses
The state of Illinois has not established any firm guidelines regarding the payment of these educational expenses. This means the amount awarded is ultimately left to the discretion of the family court judge. The judge will consider the following factors when making a decision:
- The financial resources of both parents — What are the respective incomes and assets of each parent?
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved — Would the child’s projected college expenses have been covered by their parents if the divorce had not occurred?
- The financial resources of the child — Have certain resources, such as educational trusts, savings accounts, financial aid, and scholarships, been considered?
- The child’s academic performance — Has the child performed well academically such that they merit increased educational assistance?
It is important to understand that payments for college expenses or professional training are considered a form of child support under the law. As such, they are subject to enforcement, modification, and termination. Your obligation to pay for educational expenses officially ends when your child earns a baccalaureate degree.
Did You Know? Illinois courts will not always order you to pay the higher educational expenses associated with attendance at a private college or university. If there is a less expensive and comparable public school alternative, the court may order you to pay educational expenses that are more in line with this option.