It is a thrilling moment when your child is finally accepted into college. However, after the celebrations, an important question may pop into your head: Who is going to pay for all of this?
Saying that tertiary education in the United States is expensive is an understatement. The costs of attending college are rising rapidly every year.
The average cost of tuition and fees at a private, not-for-profit, four-year university in 2015 was $31,231. At public, four-year schools, tuition and fees will set you back around $9,000 this year.
This is enough to cripple couples financially who are still together, so what hope is there if you are divorced?
College Support Agreement
In most states, child support payments stop as soon as your children reach the age of 18. However, in Illinois, the courts do recognize the need for children to have a college education.
Therefore, during divorce proceedings, the courts can allow contributions to university tuition fees to form a part of the eventual divorce settlement agreement. A college support agreement will typically include the percentage of college expenses each parent is responsible for, limits on payments, restrictions on which college the child should attend, and exactly what expenses are covered. Both parents will negotiate over the terms of the college support agreement as part of divorce proceedings.
Ultimately, the courts do not want parents to be unfairly burdened with extra expenses. They will take into account each parent’s income, and in the case of split custody, the number of children each parent looks after.
What If There Was No Agreement?
It is possible that the issue was reserved until a later date, and an agreement can be reached long after the divorce completes. You may also file a petition seeking contributions to college fees. It is recommended that you do this before any expenses have been incurred – a few months before your child starts college.
If you are planning on filing for a divorce, call an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Our lawyers will help ensure that you and your children’s futures are secure. Call 630-852-1100 to arrange a consultation.