Often times parents consider there to be an inherent “unfairness” in the fact that they are obligated to pay a portion of their child(ren)’s college education expenses when they are subject to a dissolution or paternity action, when they would not have otherwise been required to do so.
This position has been argued for years, but the result remains the same; according to 750 ILCS 5/513, “the court may award sums of money out of the property and income of either or both parties or the estate of a deceased parent, as equity may require, for the support of the child or children of the parties who have attained majority in the following instances: (2) the court may also make provision for the educational expenses of the child or children of the parties, whether of minor or majority age, and an application for educational expenses may be made before or after the child has attained majority, or after the death of either party.”
Section 750 ILCS 5/513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is changing commencing January 1, 2016, however, and will affect cases filed thereafter as well as cases filed prior thereto that are pending and undetermined as of January 1, 2016. Specifically, the Court will now follow certain guidelines in determining the amount a party should be obligated to pay toward the child(ren)’s college education. The following are some of those parameters:
- The child must maintain a C average;
- Despite where the child attends school, the parents’ obligations toward tuition and expenses shall be based on the costs of attendance at University of Illinois (Champaign Urbana);
- Both parents must cooperate to fill out all FAFSA forms and information;
- Each parents’ contribution shall only be through the child’s 23rd birthday or 25th birthday upon a showing of good cause;
- The child and parents must share all transcripts, grade reports, etc (transparency).
Those parents who were frustrated under the previous version of this statute should find some comfort in the modified language. Although this does not obviate either parent’s potential contribution, it does attach parameters that will hopefully make it more palatable and seemingly more fair to those parents who do not believe they should have to contribute toward their child(ren)’s college education, likely because they worked their way through college, and paid for their own.
For more information about child support for college expenses, contact our Skokie family law attorneys. The lawyers at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can help you from our three convenient offices in Lincolnwood, Lisle, and downtown Chicago.