Divorce And Funding A Child’s College Education
Under Illinois law, divorced parents are obligated to contribute to college expenses for a child who shows aptitude for a college education and the ability to succeed. College expenses are usually negotiated separately from child support while the child is a minor. However, divorcing parents can engage in the college planning process either during or after the original divorce proceedings.
At the Oak Park, Illinois, divorce Law Office of Gabrielle S. Davis, P.C., I represent divorced mothers and fathers in the negotiations involved in planning for college with a former spouse. In my two decades working as a family lawyer, I have encountered almost every type of post-divorce parental relationship. Regardless of your circumstances, I can advise you of the best way to complete the college planning process with your ex-spouse. Whether you are just beginning the divorce process or you were divorced long ago and now find yourselves in conflict over planning for college, I can help.
Options In Planning For College For Divorced Parents
In my years of experience, I have seen divorced families handle college planning in three main ways:
- During the original divorce proceedings, the parents can plan ahead by creating a college savings fund. College savings funds have many advantages, both in terms of minimizing tax consequences and minimizing conflict as the child approaches college age.
- If the parents did not include college planning in the original divorce proceedings, then they will have to attempt to negotiate a plan to share expenses once the child knows which college he or she will attend.
- If the parents’ negotiation is unsuccessful, an Illinois family law court will order each parent to make a specific contribution to the child’s college expenses based on proportionate ability to pay. In making this calculation, the judge will consider income from either spouse’s second marriage — unlike with child support calculations.
An Illinois divorce court can order a parent to contribute to the child’s college education even if the parent and child have had no substantial contact throughout the child’s childhood.
Minimize Conflict During An Exciting Time In Your Child’s Life
Minimizing conflict during the process of planning for college will almost certainly have a positive effect on your child — and your child’s relationship with each parent. The moment when a child starts college should be an occasion to celebrate. I can help you with college contribution negotiations so that the celebration is not tainted by conflict over who will contribute how much.