How Long Am I Legally Obligated to Pay Support While My Child Is in College?

How Long Am I Legally Obligated to Pay Support While My Child Is in College?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

When two people get divorced, one of the parents is usually ordered by the court to pay child support. Child support is typically paid until the child reaches the age of majority, which is 18, and graduates from high school. However, a parent can still be ordered to help pay for college expenses. How long are you legally obligated to contribute while your child is in college?

For questions about college expenses in Illinois, please contact the Chicago family law firm, Gordon & Perlut, LLC.

Average College Costs

The average college cost for an in-state student attending a public school is around $10,740 per year. For out-of-state students, the average cost of attendance jumps up to $27,560 annually. The cost of attendance for private colleges averages around $38,070 per year. These numbers include tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

Is It Compulsory in Illinois To Support My Child Through College?

There is no legal obligation to financially support a child through college in the state of Illinois when there is no court order. However, courts may order parents to contribute to their child’s education if the parents are able to do so (assuming the parents are divorced or unmarried). The level of support ordered by the court will likely be based on the parent’s income and assets, as well as the child’s educational expenses. Courts generally look at factors such as the child’s age, relationship to the parent, and academic ability when making a decision about whether to order financial assistance.

What if You Are Ordered To Pay College Tuition in Illinois?

If a person is ordered to pay college tuition in Illinois, that person will be responsible for paying a specific portion of their child’s educational expenses. The order will come from a court, and the tuition payments will be required until the person graduates or until the order is terminated. The order may also require the person to pay for other educational expenses, such as room and board.

What May Terminate the Tuition Payment Order?

Tuition payment orders in Illinois can be terminated for a variety of reasons, including the death of the student, the student withdrawing from school, or the bankruptcy of the obligor. Additionally, the obligation will not extend beyond age 23 or completion of the undergraduate degree.

What Ages Fall Under the Dependent Category in Illinois?

The dependent category for college tuition payment in Illinois refers to students who are 22 years of age or younger. Students who are 23 years of age or older are considered independent for tuition payment purposes. This means that they are responsible for paying their own tuition, as opposed to their parents or guardians. There are a few exceptions to the Illinois educational expense laws (750 ILCS 5/513) such as for “good cause shown.”

Contact Our Chicago area Child Support and College Tuition Lawyers

If you have questions about college expenses and the law, it is best to speak with an experienced family law attorney. You may connect with one of the Chicago family law attorneys at Gordon & Perlut, LLC at (312) 360-0250 to schedule a free consultation.