A large part of the divorce process for Illinois parents relates to their children. Determinations of child support, parenting time and other financial matters such as extracurricular expenses related to raising a child must be outlined. If children are in high school at the time of a divorce, the thought about how to pay for potential college educations may come to mind but when children are very young, parents may not always think of this at the time. However it is a very important issue.
An article in Forbes notes that courts can order directions regarding the payment of higher education expenses but there is no guarantee that a non-custodial parent should have to do this. Child support guidelines are typically in effect until a child is considered emancipated which generally happens between the ages of 18 and 21.
If a divorce decree does include stipulations regarding college expenses in addition to standard child support, it is recommended that these stipulations be as specific as possible. For example, the agreement should detail out the responsibility of either parent for not only tuition but books, room and board, other living expenses or costs associated with internships or potential study abroad programs. Tuition is only one part of the overall college expense.
The Huffington Post notes also that identifying provisions for unforeseen circumstances such as disabilities is important. Parents should designate beneficiaries appropriately and can even outline that any insurance payments are to be used toward the college expenses. Additionally, it is important to note that it is generally the custodial parent who will make financial aid applications.