location 166 W. Washington St., Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60602
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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

Chicago Attorney for Adult Children's College Expenses

Inverness adult child college and educational expenses attorney

Divorce Lawyer For Parents of Children Pursuing Higher Education in Cook County

In Illinois, parents have a legal responsibility to provide for their children's needs until they turn 18, the age of legal adulthood. However, many children continue to benefit from their parents' financial assistance in their early adult lives, especially to allow them to pursue a college education. In fact, in Illinois, a court can intervene to order that divorced or unmarried parents both contribute to their non-minor children's college expenses.

Given the high costs of higher education in Illinois and throughout the U.S., it is important for parents to understand whether college expenses may be a factor in their divorce or family law case and plan accordingly. At The Law Offices of George J. Skuros, we will keep your interests and needs in mind as we help you address all legal matters related to your children. We bring decades of experience to each case, allowing us to confidently handle even the most complicated issues.

When is Support Ordered for an Adult Child?

While child support orders only apply to minor children, divorced and unmarried parents may also be ordered to contribute to their adult child's educational expenses in a few different circumstances, including:

  • When the child is pursuing an undergraduate degree at a college or university
  • When the child is pursuing professional or vocational training after graduating high school
  • When the child is still finishing high school after turning 19

However, there are certain criteria that the child must meet in order to be eligible for this ongoing support. For example, the child must remain in good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of at least a "C" level. An adult child also becomes ineligible for court-ordered support of this nature after completing a bachelor's degree, getting married, or turning 23, except for in special circumstances when support may extend until the child turns 25.

A court will also consider the financial circumstances of all parties, including the child and both parents, when deciding whether an award of support for educational expenses is appropriate. An order for support tends to be more likely when the parents have sufficient financial resources and likely would have worked together to pay for part of the child's education if they were married. If the child has other means of paying for school, like scholarships, loans, grants, savings accounts, support from other relatives, or their own income, the court may determine that ordering the parents to contribute is unnecessary.

Expenses Included in Non-Minor Support

If parents are ordered to contribute financially to their adult child's education, all of the following expenses may be considered in determining the amount that each parent should provide:

  • Application and entrance examination fees.
  • Tuition and fees for the education itself. Regardless of the institution the child attends, these expenses are limited to the cost of in-state tuition and fees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Housing and living expenses, including food, transportation, and utilities. The maximum room and board expenses that may be awarded are also based on corresponding costs at the University of Illinois.
  • Medical and dental insurance and care while the child is pursuing an education.
  • Books and supplies required for coursework.

Depending on the circumstances, these expenses may be divided equally between both parents or distributed according to each parent's ability to pay. As with many kinds of family law cases, parents may negotiate an agreement for providing for their adult children's college expenses and file it with the court so that it becomes legally enforceable.

Contact a North Shore Child Support Attorney

We can help you negotiate agreements and resolve disputes related to support for both minor and non-minor children. For a free consultation on your case, contact us today at 312-884-1222. We serve clients in Chicago, the North Shore, Northwest Suburbs including Schaumburg, Inverness, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, and Park Ridge, and throughout Cook County.

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