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Illinois Divorce: College Expense Contributions

Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/513) provides for divorced or divorcing parents to contribute towards their children’s college expenses. The law also provides for contribution from never married parents. However, the parent seeking contribution must file a petition with the court prior to expenses being incurred; meaning that if your child is starting college in September, you need to file your petition for contribution earlier in order for the contribution to relate back to the entire expense.

Typically, a court will look to three parties for financial contribution to college expense, namely, Mother, Father and the child. A court will examine the financial resources of all the parties and then apportion the expense in some percentage. Typically, the child will contribute scholarships, grants and loans. The parents are then apportioned the remaining costs relative to their incomes and other financial resources. “The educational expenses may include, but shall not be limited to, room, board, dues, tuition, transportation, books, fees, registration and application costs, medical expenses including medical insurance, dental expenses, and living expenses during the school year and periods of recess, which sums may be ordered payable to the child, to either parent, or to the educational institution, directly or through a special account or trust created for that purpose, as the court sees fit.” Don’t wait until it is too late, pursue contribution from an uncooperative parent and secure your child’s future.

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