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How Child Support Can Help Pay for College

Posted on in Divorce

How Child Support Can Help Pay for CollegeA parent’s financial responsibility to their child does not always end when the child turns 18. Many children need help to pay for their continuing education after high school, whether that is attending a community college or a four-year university. Because of this, child support payments can continue after a child turns 18 so that both parents are helping pay for college. However, the child support payments will end if you do not take action. You must file a court motion to extend child support for college expenses and explain how much support your child will need from the paying parent.

What Does College Child Support Cover?

Illinois normally uses an income shares table to calculate how much both parents should pay towards child expenses. When continuing child support for college, you need to present the expenses that you expect to pay for your child’s education, such as:

  • Tuition and fees to attend the college
  • Room and board, which can include off-campus housing
  • College application fees
  • Textbooks and other required materials
  • Healthcare coverage
  • Living expenses for when the child is living on their own, even if college is not in session

As a condition for ordering continued child support, the court may require the student to make a good-faith effort to limit expenses. For instance, the child may need to choose the less expensive college when deciding between multiple colleges that will provide equitable opportunities.

How Are Payments Determined?

Besides presenting the college expenses to be paid, the parent who is petitioning for continued child support must explain why they need the other parent’s financial assistance to pay for college. The court will consider factors such as:

  • The financial resources of both parents and the student
  • The standard of living that the student is accustomed to
  • The student’s academic history and past performance

Based on these factors, the court will determine an appropriate amount for each parent to pay towards the college expenses.

How Long Do the Payments Last?

There are several events that will cause the child support payments to stop, including if the student:

  • Graduates with a degree
  • Turns 23 years old
  • Fails to maintain at least a “C” average for their grades
  • Gets married

Contact a Barrington Divorce Attorney

If your child is planning to attend college in the fall, you and your co-parent need to discuss how you will share responsibility for paying for college. A Barrington, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, will help you create an agreement with your co-parent or file a petition to continue child support payments. To schedule a consultation, call 847-381-8700.


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