In Illinois, a court may, in some cases, order parents to contribute to their child's college expenses as part of the child support agreement. Illinois law refers to this as "non-minor support." Non-minor support can cover college expenses such as tuition, room & board, application fees, book fees, and other costs. While it is not a mandatory requirement for parents to pay for their child's college expenses, it is sometimes recommended by judges in Illinois for parents to do so. The following list what factors are considered by the courts as they determine if and how much support must be paid for college expenses.
The financial resources of both parents. In determining non-minor support, the most important factor considered by the court is the parent's financial state. This refers to the household income of each parent, as well as savings and investments. It can also include the income of step-parents (if any).
The standard of living the child would have experienced had the marriage not dissolved. Another way the courts determine non-minor support is by determining what your child's quality of life would have been if the marriage remained intact. If you and your spouse were to remain married, the outcome of your child's well-being, specifically in terms of pursuing a college education, may indeed have been different
The financial resources of the child. In addition to assessing both parents' financial state, a judge will also assess the child's financial state in order to determine whether or not they have the funds to attend college. This assessment includes any available financial aid and scholarships.
Academic Performance. The state of your child's academic performance plays a role in how non-minor support is decided upon. In the event that the child diligently works to achieve good grades during college, he will be more likely to receive non-minor support. Also, the courts will consider whether or not your child has had plans to go to college. If the child has little or no interest in attending college, and shows little promise in succeeding academically, it is unlikely that a judge will order a parent to pay for college expenses.
Any Other Factors the Court Deems Relevant. Each family is different, and this will be taken into consideration by a judge as non-minor support is determined. Other factors may include the timing of the petition for non-minor support, the child's wishes to attend college, the choice of college, whether alimony is currently being paid, etc.
For more information on non-minor child support, feel free to contact the Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.