With high school graduations across the country happening this week, it is no surprise that families of Chicago divorce cases are contemplating the start of college in the Fall and the rising costs associated with attendance. Whether you are non-married parents, divorced parents, or parents going through a pending divorce action, your obligation in Chicago divorce and paternity court applies the same statutory guidelines in regards to parental contributions to college costs and expenses.
The Judge in a Chicago divorce case can award sums of money from many sources of the parties – their income, their property, their estate. While the court considers its “award” of expenses there can be requirements of both the child and parents in regards to completing financial aid forms and applications in attempts to exhaust all financial options before designating amounts that each parent will have to pay toward college costs and expenses.
Are college and university costs and expenses the only place where the Judge in a Chicago divorce may designate expenses? The quick answer is “no.” The court has much authority to allocate educational expenses to college education, vocational training, professional training, or other training after graduation from high school. The educational expenses can include tuition, fees, housing, medical, dental, reasonable living expenses, books and supplies. It is important to note that any educational expenses cannot exceed the amount of in-state tuition and fees for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. That threshold allows you to better understand some of the limitations.
The Chicago divorce court also has discretion in regards to how the sums are paid, the application of any 529 accounts, the child’s requirement to maintain a certain GPA and provide proof of transcripts, records, and grade reports.
Other factors considered in making any parental requirement toward educational expenses of their child include their respective incomes, ability to pay, standard of living and overall resources.
An experienced Chicago divorce attorney can guide you through your filing options for contribution, modification or termination of these educational expenses and costs.
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