The Law Firm of Franks & Rechenberg, P.C.


College Education Expenses and Divorce

by Divorce Attorney James Andrle

How are College Expenses Handled in a Divorce?

Hi Jim here. I would like to talk to you a little about college education expenses going through your divorce.  Is there a college education expense provision in Divorce Act? No, there isn’t. So how do college education expenses come up? It comes up in one of two exceptions to when child support ends. Section 5513 of the Marriage Act says, if you have a special needs child or if your child is going to college, your expenses can continue for that child. So college education expenses, what are they and how do you divide them?

College education expenses can be a number different things, tuition, room and board, sorority and fraternity dues, travel expenses to and from college, a stipend for your child clothing expenses and other various related materials.

But how do you divide them? In the Marriage Act, it calls for, not an equalization of income, but the expenses to be paid on a pro rata share of what one party makes to the other. For example you make $90,000 your spouse makes $10,000, guess what, you pay 90% of the college education expenses they pay 10%. You make $60,000 and they make $40,000 it’s a 60/40 ratio of how the college education expenses are paid.

What is the duration of the college expenses? That you have some more wiggle room to play with. Most attorneys want their college education expenses of their clients to be done within four years. Anything beyond four years and the child is usually on their own. This gives the child some impetus and how long their college education duration will go on. If a child doesn’t have any obligations to pay for their college education expenses, could go on indefinitely.

How will the decisions be made regarding college education expenses? That’s usually dealt with in the area of the allocation of parental responsibilities. Anticipating that it may be done jointly, what’s the cap on the cost of college education expenses? Attorneys for years have been trying to cap the cost of college education expenses based on an Illinois State funded school. If your child wants to go to Yale, that’s wonderful, but the parents obligation will be capped on the cost of attending U of I in Champaign. Now that request those lawyers have been making for years, has been legislated into law.

If you have any additional questions about college education expenses, please contact us at Franks & Rechenberg so we may assist you further.


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