If a child is involved in a divorce, it is likely that post-high school educational expenses will be discussed prior to the entry of a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, at least to some extent. This can be a major issue, especially if the child is older at the time of the dissolution.
However, it is somewhat common to see Judgments with Marital Settlement Agreements that simply refer to Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/513). This is most common to see, if the parties’ children were younger at the time the divorce was finalized.
Pursuant to Section 513, a party may petition the court to determine the other party’s financial ability to contribute to their non-minor child’s educational expenses. To make this determination the court will review income, assets, and debts.
This Section applies to (1) college education, (2) vocational, professional, and other training, and (3) high school after the child attains the age of 19.
Educational expenses can include tuition, fees, housing expenses, books, supplies, etc. The court can order sums of money to be paid to the child, to the other party, or to the educational institution, directly.
There are important deadlines and limits when seeking relief pursuant to Section 513. If you have questions about your child’s post-high school educational expenses or if a petition has been filed against you, speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.