Planning for college expenses during divorce

| May 22, 2018 | Uncategorized

Higher education costs in Illinois and around the country have risen sharply in recent years, and attending a four-year nonprofit college in the United States now costs an average of $46,950, according to data from the College Board. Students attending state schools pay an average of $20,770 according to the nonprofit group. Putting aside the money needed to cover these costs can be difficult for parents struggling to cope with the financial fallout of a divorce, and determining how tuition fees and room and board will be paid for is sometimes a contentious issue during settlement negotiations.

Divorcing parents in Illinois may be wise to resolve these matters amicably because family law judges in the state can order divorced parents to pay their children’s tuition fees, housing costs and medical expenses. However, the parent’s income is taken into consideration when these decisions are made, and payment is only ordered when students maintain at least a C grade average.

The financial realities of ending a marriage may lead to uncomfortable conversations between parents and their children. Divorced parents who once shared expenses must now cover their own, and this may not leave enough money to pay for an expensive education. The tax laws provide some relief for parents, but the children must often accept that attending their preferred college is no longer financially realistic.

Parents generally want the best for their children, and it can be extremely difficult for them to accept that divorce may require them to change some of their plans. Experienced family law attorneys may encourage divorcing parents to seek some sort of compromise on these issues to prevent protracted court battles that could emotionally damage the children involved, and they may suggest less combative forums like mediation when negotiations have been unsuccessful.

Source: The Illinois General Assembly, “Illinois Compiled Statutes”, accessed on May 21, 2018

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