Can Illinois child support help to cover college expenses?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Child Support |

Raising children into adulthood is not a cheap process. Parents often invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the housing, clothing and food that their children require before they become adults. They also often commit quite a bit toward their educational expenses.

Parents might enroll their children in private school, encourage them to participate in expensive extracurricular activities like gymnastics and help them prepare for a college education. The cost of a college degree may dwarf the prior investment parents have made in the education of their children.

Can someone preparing for divorce count on child support to help them meet post-secondary educational expenses for their children?

Illinois may grant child support for college costs

In many states, child support during college enrollment is only available if the parents reach a mutual agreement including those terms. However, Illinois actually allows parents to request child support for post-secondary educational costs in some scenarios.

Typically, a parent needs to provide thorough disclosures about a child’s likely costs and any financial aid that they qualify to receive. They also need to establish the necessity of a post-secondary education, possibly by highlighting a child’s desire for a specific career.

Provided that the courts agree that support for a child who is already 18 years of age and finished with high school is necessary, they could compel one parent to help cover the costs of college ranging from housing and tuition to textbook costs. Non-minor child support orders can continue until the young adult turns 23 or earns their bachelor’s degree. The state does not generally authorize support for those attending graduate school, even if they remain financially dependent.

While child support may be useful, it may fall far short of the total expenses generated during a young adult’s college education. Yet, it is often possible for parents to negotiate an arrangement on their own to cover the remaining costs. Such arrangements may reduce the stress on the young adult attending college who might otherwise need to seek large student loans to pay for their education.

Parents preparing for divorce often have unique concerns about custody and child support matters. Learning more about the unique rules for Illinois family law cases may benefit those worried about the financial impact of an upcoming divorce.