In most circumstances, child support stops once the child has reached the age of majority. However, that is not always in the childs best interest. Many children have mental or physical disabilities that require more care from parents. Additionally, many parents these days have a hand in covering their childrens expenses during college. The law does not require child support to cover these sorts of issues, but Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage act does give judges the option of awarding non-minor children support in certain circumstances.
When Non-Minor Support Is Available
The law makes non-minor child support available to children in two cases. The first case relates to children with disabilities. The law is fairly sparse on guidelines in this area. It only states that courts may award non-minor support in cases where there is a child with a mental or physical disability.
The law provides considerably more guidance in the second case, which relates to educational expenses for non-minor children. Courts can award support related to education expenses for non-minor children with regard to college, professional school, vocational school, and even expenses incurred in high school after the child reaches age 19. The law also provides examples of things the expenses can cover, like tuition, room and board, transportation, books, and other fees. The statute also provides for the actual procedures that can be used to pay the expenses such as paying the other parent, paying the school directly, or setting up a trust for the purposes of educational expenses. Importantly, if courts do award educational support, the law requires parents and children to consent to the supporting parents ability to access academic transcripts.
How Judges Decide
As with most issues of child support, the law gives judges a wide latitude to consider the entire family situation in making their decision about whether to award non-minor child support. In fact, the law directs judges to “consider all relevant factors that appear reasonable and necessary.” In order to illustrate some of those factors, the law lists four as examples:
- What the financial resources of each parent are;
- What standard of living the child would have had if the parents had not divorced;
- What financial resources the child has access to; and
- How the child is performing in school.
However, these are just some of the many different considerations that may ultimately end up impacting the decision to award non-minor child support for college expenses or additional care.
Protecting your childs future is an important consideration for any parent. If you are thinking about filing for divorce and would like to learn more about these issues, contact an experienced Naperville divorce lawyer today. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to help you understand the process and make the best decisions for yourself.