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Can college expenses be part of an Illinois child support order?

Most parents who are going through a divorce understand that one of them may be required to pay child support to the other. This may make sense when the child is still a minor and is dependent on the care of their parents. However, here, the judge can include college expenses in a child support order, even if the child is no longer a minor.

There are several college expenses that can be included in a child support order. These expenses include: room and board; tuition and other fees; transportation fees; books; costs associated with applying and registering for college; medical expenses; and living expenses. Many children going to college need this financial support in to get by, so they can focus on earning their degree.

Parents may expect that if they are ordered to pay child support, their payments may be used to cover the child's basic needs, health care, child care, expenses associated with travel for visitation purposes and extracurricular activities until their child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school. But, going to college is also important for many children, so parents may be ordered to support this endeavor as well.

With the sharp increase in the costs of a college education in recent years, obtaining a college degree generally requires the financial support of both the child's parents, at least to the extent of resources the parents have to funnel towards their child's higher education. Illinois law recognizes this and gives judges the discretion to include college expenses in a child support order.

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