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Paying for College as a Divorced Parent

 Posted on April 10, 2019 in Divorce

DuPage County family law attorney

Seeing your child receive a college acceptance letter is a proud moment for many parents. You get to see how your parenting, your child’s education, and their hard work helped them get an opportunity to pursue higher education. This can also bring financial stress. It is no secret that college is costly, especially for divorced parents.

Can the Court Make You Pay?

The Illinois court system, like various other states, was previously allowed to require a child’s parents to contribute a certain amount of money toward their child’s college fund. There is not an exact formula for calculating each parent’s required contribution. However, the amount parents can be ordered to pay cannot exceed the amount of tuition, room, and board for that particular year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Determining these obligations can become even more complex in the case of multiple children, and depending on which parent the children live with, it could be difficult to determine who should pay what amount.

These situations became more complicated in May 2018 after a father challenged this law in court. Charles Yakich believed his daughter was disregarding the cost of tuition and choosing a school based on the social scene rather than her academic success. Although he promised to help his daughter pay tuition for some schools, he refused to help her pay for a school he considered unfit. Yakich also claimed the law to be unconstitutional, as it was only enforced on divorced parents rather than parents who were still married. The law was struck down by a DuPage County judge and deemed unconstitutional, thus putting into question the fairness of a judge’s right to have a parent contribute to their child’s tuition payments.

So Who Does Pay?

The easy answer to the question above is: anyone who has the money can pay. However, things are not always that simple. Many children pay their own way through college. They take out loans, have part-time jobs while at school, and receive grants and scholarships. If parents do want to help pay for their child’s education, they can include this as a part of child support payments in addition to required alimony payments. Some couples may decide to save a portion of alimony payments to be used for their child’s tuition. This can be a formal arrangement in the divorce settlement or an informal decision made by both parents.

Contact a Lombard, Illinois Divorce Lawyer for Help

Divorce proceedings are often difficult due to the high emotions that go along with the breakdown of a marriage. The details can be stressful and confusing without the help of a dedicated legal advocate. The attorneys at A. Traub & Associates can help with all areas of the divorce process, including calculating child support payments, determining eligibility for alimony, and agreements to pay for children’s college. If you are considering filing for divorce, contact our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys at 630-426-0196. 



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