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


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

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College Expenses and Your Child’s Right to Support

Posted on in Children of divorce

college, Aurora family law attorneyIf you are a divorced parent, you understand how difficult it can be to fulfill all of your parental obligations while maintaining a close relationship with your child. In addition to being an involved parent and a positive influence in the child’s life, you may also be required to pay child support, at least until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Depending on the circumstances of your situation and the terms of your divorce agreement, however, your support obligation may continue as your child heads to college, but such considerations are often much more complex.

Child Support Basics

Every child has the right to expect financial support from both parents. This idea is the basis of child support laws in every state, including Illinois. While child support payments are typically made by one parent to the other, the right such support is considered to belong to the child. A parent does not have the authority to waive that right on the child’s behalf, and a court may order child support even the parent with primary custodial responsibilities insists that he or she does not need it.

Non-Minor Support for Education

Once a child has reached age 18 and graduated high school—19 in certain cases—he or she no longer has the right to expect support from his or her parents. According to Illinois law, it is possible for a court to order divorced parents to assist with the child’s expenses for college or other post-high school education, but the matter is considered to be between the parents.

Many divorce decrees or marital settlement agreements (MSAs) specify each parent’s responsibility for their children’s future college expenses. If a decree or MSA does not address the matter or reserves it for future consideration, either parent may file a motion with the court when the need arises. Based on the financial situation of each parent and the child, the standard of living created when the parents were together, and the child’s educational performance, the court may order one or both parents to contribute toward the child’s college expenses. Because the matter is, essentially, an extension of the divorce proceedings, the child does not have the standing to ask the court to order such payments.

Child Support Attorneys in Aurora

If your child is heading to college next fall and you have questions about your responsibilities in paying for his or her schooling, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-409-8184 for a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.


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


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

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