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Paying for kids’ college after a divorce

For Illinois parents who get divorced when their children are very young, the thought of paying for college can seem so far away. In many cases, this may even be overlooked during the original divorce settlement process. When the time comes for children to begin their college searches and choosing where they would like to go to school, the logical question about which parent should pay what has to be asked.

Forbes indicates that unless an initial divorce order provides stipulations about paying for higher education neither parent is legally obligated to do so. It may be possible for parents to create a new agreement focused just on this topic when the time arises if it was not included in the divorce settlement.

When determining a plan, parents should take care to consider all of the costs associated with going to college, not just tuition. Things like books, room and board, administrative fees, discretionary spending money, insurance, and more should be factored in.

When parents and students are ready to file for financial aid, it is important to know which parent’s information should be provided. The U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid indicates that if parents are divorced and living apart, financial details about the parent with whom the child lived more time with in the prior 12 months should be given. When time was split evenly, the choice is then made based upon which parent provided the greatest financial support during that time period. If the parent that information is required for has remarried, financial details concerning the stepmom or stepdad should also be included.


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