College Expenses under the New IMDMA

Under Section 513, the provision covering college expenses in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, many changes have been made.
First, under 513(a), there is now a termination clause. The parents’ obligation to contribute to college expenses terminates when the student turns age 23, unless “good cause” is shown. However, no parent shall be made to pay for education after the student turns 25.
Section 513(b) was modified to include miscellaneous expenses incurred when applying for college. The following are now covered under 513(b) as educational expenses: up to five college applications, two standardized college entrance exams, and one standardized college entrance exam preparation course.
In prior years, one main argument between parents was the choice of school for their children due to financial issues. One parent may want the kids to start at a community college to save money, while the other desired that the children get a full Ivy League education. Now, under 513(d), the costs are capped at the amount the University of Illinois charges. This will eliminate some fighting between the parties and the benchmark is now set for tuition, fees, housing, and meals.
Finally, two requirements are placed on the student receiving assistance from their parents. 513(f) requires the child to sign all consents necessary to allow a supporting parent to have access to the child’s academic transcripts, reports, and grade records. Additionally, pursuant to 513(g), the parents’ obligation to pay college expenses terminates if the student fails to maintain a cumulative “C” grade point average.
Overall, Section 513 has now codified case law and been clarified to eliminate a good deal of litigation in the future.

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