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Wheaton divorce attorneysThere is no doubt the price of a college education has skyrocketed in the past decade. Tuition at public and private universities can be a huge expense for a family. When parents decide to divorce, their financial situation changes. The thought of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for even one child’s post-high school education can be daunting. This is especially true for a spouse who was a stay-at-home parent and did not work outside the home during the marriage.

Most states allow parents who are divorcing to work out an agreement for college costs and payment details. According to Illinois divorce law, in some cases, the cost for child-related expenses such as college can be determined by a judge if a couple cannot come to an arrangement. Illinois is one of the few states where payment for college or vocational expenses can be ordered without an agreement between the parents.     

Who Can Be Ordered to Pay?

In Illinois, child support usually ends when a son or daughter turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. It generally stops at age 19 even if the child is still in high school. The support issues that were originally addressed under the child support law then fall under the “college expenses” portion of the law. The college cost law applies to “non-minor children” or those who are over 18 years old. 


Naperville child support lawyer

Child support is often established if two individuals who share a child end their relationship before getting married or get a divorce. Child support is a recurring financial payment from one parent to the other designed to benefit the child. It could be made from a higher-earning spouse or the one who maintains a lesser share of the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody).

While many child support arrangements are set up without substantial difficulty, they are sometimes among the most contentious elements of divorce and family law cases.


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When a divorce occurs, one spouse often provides child support to their ex-spouse until their children become emancipated. Usually, this happens when the children turn 18. But what if the children become emancipated before they come of age? When is a minor considered emancipated, and how does this impact child support? The subject of minor emancipation and child support has a long and complicated history in Illinois state law. The topic of de facto emancipation has been hotly contested in Illinois state law, but thankfully, several court rulings have provided clarity on determining when a child, whether they are a minor or not, has been emancipated and its relationship to child support.

The 1980 Emancipation Act

The court rulings on child emancipation in Illinois go back over the last century. There were many different rulings which brought confusion and inconsistency to how the law was enforced. In an attempt to bring clarity to the debate, Illinois passed the Emancipation of Minors Act (750 ILCS 30/1 et seq.), and under this law, there are two types of emancipation:


shared physical care, Illinois child support law, child support payments, Wheaton child support lawyer, divorcing coupleIllinois law recently underwent a drastic change that redefined the guidelines for determining child support following divorce. After July 1, 2017, child support payments are no longer based on the paying parent’s income; instead, both parents’ incomes are taken into consideration, providing a method that more accurately represents the way parents provide for their children.

Child Support and Shared Physical Care

While the calculation of child support under the new law is relatively straightforward, it can become complicated in cases of Shared Physical Care, in which parenting time is split between parents in an equal or near to equal fashion. This occurs when children stay overnight with both parents at least 146 days every year, which makes 40 percent of the time or more.


Illinois child support law, Wheaton child support lawyer, parental responsibility, parenting time, modifying child supportThe Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) has undergone significant changes in recent years. In 2016, the law was changed to reflect the state of modern parenting by replacing terms like “custody” and “visitation” with “parental responsibility” and “parenting time.”

In 2017, the law saw another major revision that completely redefined how child support payments are determined in Illinois.

Following this change, which went into effect on July 1, 2017, child support is no longer calculated using only one parent’s income. Now, the net income of both parents will be considered, and the amount of each parent’s parenting time and parental responsibility may also have an effect on the amount of child support owed by one parent to another.

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