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Plan for Your Child’s College Expenses in Divorce

Posted on February 23, 2016 in Child Support

college, Arlington Heights family law attorneyWhen you are going through a divorce, there are plenty of pressing matters that require your immediate attention, especially if you are a parent. You will need to decide who gets to keep which assets, establish if there is need for spousal maintenance, allocate parental responsibilities, and develop a workable parenting time schedule. For most divorcing parents, the issue of child support must also be determined, usually based on the supporting parent’s income and the needs of the family and child at the time of the divorce. It is very easy, however, for many parents to fail to look ahead to providing for their child’s college education, particularly if the child is still young. By planning early, you and your spouse can have a better understand of what may lie ahead.

Some, All or None

As part of your divorce settlement, you and your spouse can address how, if at all, you intend to help your child pay for college or other post-school education. You can agree in advance that together, you will assist your child in paying for school, even going so far as to develop a specific savings or contribution plan. Likewise, you may decide that one of you will be responsible for footing the entire bill. Finally, your family’s financial situation may be such that you are unlikely to be able to afford paying for your child’s post-secondary education, and your agreement may reflect that determination.

The Effects of Indecision

Of course, you could also decide not to make a decision, leaving the college question unanswered for the time being. If you do so, it is important to recognize that the issue can resurface later, when your child is ready to begin attending school. While the recently-amended law in Illinois prevents your child from being able to ask the court to force you to help with educational expenses, your ex-spouse will have the standing to request exactly that. Once such a petition is filed, it will be up to the court to determine if you should be required to contribute, based on your current financial situation, those of your spouse, the standard of living during your marriage, and your child’s academic performance.

Get Help With Planning Ahead

Preparing for a post-divorce future begins with a comprehensive, workable divorce agreement. To learn more about how we can help you draft the right settlement for your case, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney. We will work with you in ensuring your needs are met and your rights are fully protected now and for years to come.


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