The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


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Can I Be Forced To Pay for My Child’s College if I Am Divorced in Illinois? 

 Posted on April 11,2022 in Child Support


Popular wisdom holds that once a child turns 18, a divorced parent no longer has to pay child support. Although in many cases this is true, in Illinois children of divorced parents may lay claim to child support that continues for several years after a child reaches legal adulthood.

Divorced parents can be required by Illinois family courts to contribute to their child’s college expenses. Illinois is something of an outlier in this regard, but the courts have consistently upheld this responsibility, even when parents have challenged it. Considering that the cost of college can be significantly more than a down payment on a home, the prospect of paying for a child’s college involuntarily can be concerning. If you are divorced or plan on getting divorced in Illinois, it is essential to understand your future financial obligations for non-minor child support. 

Do Parents Have to Pay the Entire Cost of Their Child’s College? 

While divorced parents can be required to contribute to their child’s college expenses, the parent who paid child support while the child was a minor will usually not be required to pay the entirety of the child’s education. Both parents, and often the child, can be required to bear the cost of an education. While there is no formula that courts follow to determine who pays what, there is a cap on the maximum amount a parent must contribute. The cap follows the cost of in-state tuition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

In addition to the cost of tuition, parents can also be required to pay the following expenses: 

  • Textbooks, class registration fees, laptops, etc.

  • Living expenses, such as rent, food, and toiletries 

  • Medical insurance and medical expenses

What if I Cannot Afford to Pay For College? 

College is not cheap, and the cost rises every year. For many parents, the prospect of paying for four years of college tuition feels simply impossible. Courts take each parent’s financial circumstances into consideration and will not impoverish a parent because of a child’s college expenses. In addition to each parent’s income, courts will consider a parent’s retirement savings, the child’s financial resources, and whether the child’s college education would have been paid if the parents had remained married. 

Children are also obligated to maintain a “C” grade average and can be required to contribute to the cost of their education. If the child gets married, turns 23, or receives a four-year degree, the parent’s obligation to help pay for college ends. 

Call a North Aurora Child Support Lawyer

Understanding your financial responsibilities to your child after a divorce can be a headache. If you have questions about whether you may need to help your child pay for college as part of your child support obligation, call a skilled Kane County child support lawyer with the The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.. Schedule an initial consultation by calling our offices today at 630-409-8184



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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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