Continuing a further discussion from the last two blog posts that I have written, I want to touch base on another scenario regarding college expenses and your obligation to pay them on behalf of your children. Last time we discussed what it means to have what is called Section 513 expenses reserved in the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. But what about when the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage doesn’t have an express reservation of college expenses?
So what happens if a settlement agreement does not specifically “reserve” the allocation of college expenses? In that case, the court has the authority to enforce a dissolution judgment providing that each party pay.
In In re Marriage of Koenis, the mother filed a petition for reimbursement for approximately $257,000 that she and the parties’ daughter incurred for college expenses and law school. The Judgment for Dissolution of marriage provided that, “the Husband and Wife shall pay for university, college or post-graduate school education for Tiffany herein based on their respective financial abilities and resources at such time. The father argued the case that we discussed previously, Peterson and that the mother was barred from seeking reimbursement since the child had completed her schooling and the mothers petition was filed after all the expenses were incurred. The case went up to the Appellate Court and they sided with the mother. The Appellate Court stated that the settlement agreement not contain either a reservation clause or a reference to section 513 at all. The settlement agreement obligated both sides to contribute to the child’s post-secondary education, and so the mother could in fact seek the expenses incurred although she filed her petition after the expenses were incurred. See In re Marriage of Koenis, 2012 IL App. (2d) 110503.