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My Child is Going to College. Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support?

 Posted on April 16, 2024 in Divorce

Arlington Heights, IL child support lawyerMaking changes to child support payments, also known as child support modification, is not a simple process. Illinois law generally requires courts to wait two years before modifying a child support order.

But the law also recognizes that circumstances change and sometimes it is necessary to make adjustments. If you need to modify your child support payments, contact a family lawyer in Illinois who can advise you on whether you have good cause.

This article will discuss how courts calculate child support and when you can request to modify child support payments.

How Do Courts Calculate Child Support Payments?

When calculating child support payments, courts want to find out how much a child needs and how much of that the parents can afford. 

To find those answers, the court will look at several factors, including:

  • The child’s financial needs

  • The child’s educational needs

  • The net income of each parent

  • Which parent has the majority of parenting time

  • Whether alimony is also being paid

  • The standard of living the child would have if the parents remained married

When Can I Modify Child Support Payments?

Illinois law says that to petition a court for child support modification within the first two years, you will need to show a “substantial change in circumstances.” This law is not very specific, so the court has a lot of discretion in whether to grant your request. 

However, the law also lists certain cases that qualify as “substantial changes in circumstances,” for example:

  • If the parent paying child support loses his or her job involuntarily

  • If the child becomes emancipated

  • If the child joins the military or gets married

  • If the child turns 18 and leaves high school

This means that you may need to continue paying child support until a child turns 18 and leaves high school or turns 19, whichever comes first. 

Then My Financial Obligations Will Be Over?

If your child is 18 and no longer in high school, you can file a motion to end child support payments. But that does not mean your financial obligations are over. If the child is enrolling in college, a judge might order you to pay “non-minor support,” which can include college tuition, room and board, books, and/or other expenses.

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Family Lawyer

Child support payments are calculated based on many factors. If those factors change, it may be possible to petition the court to modify the payments. But getting a reprieve from a judge to end child support is not guaranteed. Furthermore, even once you stop making child support payments, you may still be responsible for paying your child’s educational expenses. This is why you should consult with a practiced Arlington Heights, Illinois family law attorney about making child support payments once your child goes to college. The first-rate lawyers at A. Traub & Associates are highly experienced in child support matters and use a personal and friendly approach. Call 847-749-4182 for a consultation today.

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