As a parent, you want to see your children succeed and do well in life. Both parents have a duty of financial support for their children until they turn 18 or graduate high school with 19 years of age as the cutoff.
In Illinois, divorced parents have a duty to contribute to their children’s post-high/college educations based with certain statutory limitations pursuant to Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the educational expense requirements).
Parents can either agree as to their financial contributions to their children’s post-high school/college educations or either parent may petition the court to determine this issue. You should do so as soon as you know there is a disagreement and where your child will be pursuing their post-high school education.
The contributions may cover tuition and other educational expenses for both private and public colleges as well as trade schools and professional or vocational training. The law includes housing, reasonable living expenses, books and supplies and medical and dental insurance, as well as entrance exams, application fees and college preparation courses.
However, Section 513 of the law caps these expenses to what they would cost at a public university, e.g., the University of Illinois.
A judge will evaluate your income and your financial resources to determine each parent’s obligation. The court may also evaluate your children’s current savings, scholarships and other resources as well as their academic performance.
By law, these payments typically terminate when your child turns 23, receives a bachelor’s degree, gets married or falls below a “C” average unless otherwise agreed between the parents.
As you plan for your future, you should also prepare for the post-high school/college educational expenses for your children.