Modifying a Divorce Decree to Meet a Child’s College Education Needs

Posted on in Divorce

After a divorce is finalized, and the divorce decree is entered into court records, former spouses must abide by all terms concerning child support, spousal support, the allocation of parental responsibility, and the division of the marriage’s assets and liabilities. The decree may only be modified if a valid reason exists. These reasons may include changes in employment and/or income, parent and child relocation, a change in marital status for either party, a change in health status, and the educational needs of children.

With regard to a child’s educational needs, when a child is at or near the age of 18, one parent may petition the court for a modification to compel the other parent to help bear the cost of college expenses. The purpose of this article is to explain the basics of a divorce decree modification petition regarding a child’s college expenses.

Illinois Extends Child Support Obligations to Include College Expenses

Illinois is one of several states in which parents’ child support obligations may include post-secondary (college) educational expenses for adult children. Either parent can petition the other for financial contribution to the child’s college expenses. Ideally, the parents address the issue of post-secondary expenses during the original divorce settlement, so that each party is clear as to terms and conditions and can plan years before tuition and board fees are ever due. However, as college may seem far away at the time of divorce, it is not uncommon for the issue to go unaddressed. Later, when the issue must be confronted through a divorce modification petition, lawful “educational expenses” for which contributions may be sought by either parent include:

  • Tuition and fees, up to what would be paid by a student during that academic year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Room and board up to what would be paid by a student during that academic year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • The cost of health insurance, dental care, and other medical expenses.
  • Other reasonable living expenses during the school year.
  • The cost of textbooks and other school supplies.

Experience in Obtaining Support Modifications

With college tuition ever on the rise and competition for employment increasing in the age of automation and globalization, it is critically important for parents to support their children and help them achieve success at the post-secondary level. If you need help determining how to obtain a modification that will secure support for your child’s college expenses, the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC can help you understand your rights and advocate for your child’s best interests. Contact an experienced West Chicago divorce attorney at 630-836-8540 to arrange a free consultation.