Illinois Law Summary: Educational Expenses and College Costs

Below is some Illinois law involving educational and college expenses. This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law. This is a topic that comes up regularly in family law matters involving children.

Because the facts of every circumstance is different, it is imperative to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance.  This summary, however, does help provide some important information on this topic.

Pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/513, in Illinois, courts may make provision for the educational expenses of the child or children of the parties, whether of minor or majority age. Educational expenses may include, but shall not be limited to, room, board, dues, tuition, transportation, books, fees, registration and application costs, medical expenses including medical insurance, dental expenses, and living expenses during the school year and periods of recess. Id.

"Support" is simply a general term that can include "educational expenses" for a child who has reached the age of majority. Waller v. Waller, Ill.App.3d 743, 748-749 (4th Dist. 2003). "Educational expenses" may include "room" and "board" just as the more generic term, "support," may include shelter and food. Id. The trial court must turn to Section 513 when deciding whether to award support for a non-minor child. Id.

Given the statute's express language and its history, Illinois courts have consistently held that Section 513 expenses are a form of child support to be read in conjunction with 750 ILCS 5/505. Petersen v. Petersen, 353 Ill.Dec. 320, 323 (2011). In making an award for educational expenses of a child or children of the marriage, the court shall consider all relevant factors that appear reasonable and necessary, including: 1) the financial resources of both parents; 2) the standard of living the parents would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved; 3) the financial resources of the child; and 4) the child's academic performance. Id.

Given the great leeway that judges have in analyzing these types of cases, it is important to have counsel assist you if these issues are at stake in your case.  At Stange Law Firm, PC, we have attorneys that can help if you wish to contact us.

To gain more information on this topic, you can read our page about college and educational expenses or you can view our Illinois child support chart.  You can also read about our Springfield, Illinois divorce lawyers.