Illinois statutes educational fees divorce

These "heart balm" actions are abolished to promote the recognition that amicable settlement of domestic relations matters are beneficial to families. Although effective January 1, , litigants may still proceed under any cause of action under the Acts that accrued prior to their repeal. The IMDMA will include only one ground for dissolution - that irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

The current waiting period of six months if the parties agree or two years if the parties do not agree is repealed. The idea that we need to continue to litigate "fault" in a broken marriage wastes valuable time and money. Abandoning it promotes better cooperation during resolution of the matter and subsequent to entry of a judgment of dissolution. The IMDMA now requires the court to enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage within 60 days of the closing of proofs unless the court enters an order specifying good cause, in which case the court shall have an additional 30 days.

A marital settlement agreement must be in writing unless excused for good cause shown with the approval of the court before proceeding to an oral prove-up. Regarding modification of an agreement, property provisions are never modifiable; child support, parental responsibilities, maintenance, and educational expenses are modifiable upon showing of a substantial change of circumstances.


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The revised IMDMA provides for standardized statewide forms for interim attorneys' fee award orders, 13 financial affidavits, 14 and parenting plans, which are being drafted by the applicable Illinois Supreme Court Committee. Interim attorneys' fee award orders will include language clearly stating that any award of interim attorneys' fees is deemed to be an advance from the marital estate, in order to promote transparency and clarity to litigants. Further, the court must impose penalties and sanctions against a party intentionally or recklessly filing an inaccurate or misleading financial affidavit, and the standard form will reflect the same.

The revised IMDMA provides that hearings for temporary maintenance and temporary child support may be heard on a summary basis, but an evidentiary hearing may be held for good cause shown. To encourage accountability and better compliance with judgments, courts will be required to provide specific factual findings for property allocations. In addition, it is generally accepted that litigants are more likely to comply with judgments or other orders to the extent they understand the judge's rationale behind them.

Calculating Child Support in Illinois

The revised IMDMA gives trial courts discretion to use one of several different dates to determine the value of assets or property to ensure fair treatment of both parties and to adjust for circumstances out of their control. As a matter of discretion, the court may use the date of trial, a date agreed upon by the parties, or any other such date as ordered by the court. For example, the court may appoint a single expert to conduct a business valuation, which may obviate the need for the parties to obtain two separate business valuations.

Only one change was made at this time affecting the child support section. The definition of "net income" for calculation of child support was revised to allow for the deduction of student loan payments of an obligor. The revisions to the maintenance statute pursuant to both Public Act effective in and , with the exception of the maintenance guidelines, were based upon recommendations made by the IFLSC. Of note, the IFLSC did not recommend implementation of the maintenance guidelines included in PA , as no economic study had been conducted as had been conducted for child support guidelines and there is no automatic entitlement to maintenance - a party's right to maintenance must be based upon the facts of each case, for example.

See Jeffrey Hirsch's article in the September Journal for more about the guidelines. Pursuant to the changes in PA , courts will be required to provide findings regarding maintenance in any case where it is at issue as well as for any modification of a prior maintenance order. This is a change from current law and increases the options available to the court and, as a result, further encourages parties to settle their cases.

In addition, the new provisions also clarify that the maintenance guidelines included in Public Act do not apply to a payor with obligations to pay child support or maintenance or both from a prior relationship. Further and of significant impact, the new IMDMA provides that the court may consider "all sources of public and private income including, without limitation, disability and retirement income" as a factor when determining maintenance. Like temporary support, a petition for temporary attorneys' fees in a post-judgment matter may now be heard on a non-evidentiary, summary basis.

The section governing educational expenses for a child who wishes to attend college has been revised to ensure more consistency and fairness. In formulating this recommendation, the IFLSC considered parents' need to also plan and prepare for their own retirement while also meeting any statutory post-high school educational obligations on behalf of their children. For example, post-high school educational expenses must be incurred no later than the student's 23rd birthday unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or for good cause shown.

However, an award cannot be made after the student's 25th birthday under any circumstances.


  1. Illinois Statutes Chapter 750. Families § 5/513.Educational Expenses for a Non-minor Child!
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  8. Further, the maximum amount of expenses for tuition, fees, housing, and meals is now capped at what is charged at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, unless good cause is shown. Support under this section ends when the student fails to maintain a "C" average unless in the instance of illness or otherwise extenuating circumstances , becomes 23 years of age or older, receives a bachelor's degree, or marries.

    Termination of Support-College Support Beyond the Age of Majority

    Children are not third-party beneficiaries under this section and not entitled to file a petition for contribution. Relief under section is retroactive to the date of filing of the petition, which resolves split appellate court decisions on this issue. Goodbye 'custody' and 'visitation,' hello 'allocation of parental responsibilities'. Family law will no longer be a winner-take-all litigation process. Courts will no longer award "custody" or "visitation" under the new statute, so that a parent may be allowed to "visit" with his or her child.

    Rather, courts will allocate "parental responsibilities" formerly custody and "parenting time" formerly visitation.

    Illinois law provides for child support for post-high school educational expenses

    Parental responsibilities are broken out into categories reflecting different needs a child may have. For example, if one parent is a teacher and the other a doctor, a court might allocate the decision-making responsibility for education to the teacher and for health to the doctor. Ultimately, the statute still applies the same standard under current law - that the court allocates decision making responsibilities according to the child's best interests. Both parents, within days after service or filing of a petition for allocation of parental responsibilities, must file with the court a separate or joint proposed parenting plan.

    The time for filing a parenting plan may be extended for good cause shown. The parenting plan must contain at a minimum information meeting 14 statutory criteria, which includes but is not limited to, allocation of significant decision making responsibilities, provisions regarding parenting time, a mediation provision, rights regarding access to records, etc.

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    If the court does not approve a joint parenting plan, it must make express findings justifying its refusal to do so. A parent who has been allocated a majority of parenting time or equal parenting time may seek to "relocate" with a child. Specifically, the parent seeking to relocate must provide written notice to the other parent and file the notice with the circuit court clerk and must provide 60 days' notice. If the non-relocating parent signs the notice in agreement, no further court action is required.

    If the non-relocating parent objects or the parties cannot agree on modification of the parenting plan or allocation judgment, the parent seeking to relocate must file a petition seeking permission to relocate, just as they would under prior law.

    Under current law, a custodial parent may move from Chicago to Cairo without asking for permission and for any reason. Under the new provisions, a parent residing in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties may move up to 25 miles from his or her current residence without leave of court. A parent who lives less than 25 miles from the state border may move no more than 25 miles from his or her current residence into a bordering state without leave of court, but Illinois courts will retain jurisdiction over the case pursuant to a cross-referencing amendment to the UCCJEA.

    Under this same example, the same parent could move up to 25 miles from Calumet City into Indiana for example, the parent could move to Merrillville, Indiana 21 miles away from Calumet City but could not move to Valparaiso, Indiana 32 miles away from Calumet City without leave of court or permission of the other parent. The relocation provision applies to parents who have been allocated a majority or equal parenting time parents who do not have a majority or equal parenting time are not required to obtain approval for a move.

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    Attached is a summary of the varying costs for tuition at the University of Illinois for the academic year. This does not appear to include, car expenses, medical insurance, uninsured medical and dental expenses, and other typical living expenses that many students also have. Also missing from the new language is how the Court is supposed to integrate these additional support obligations into the maintenance and child support obligations which may separately exist for younger minor children.

    This is a short paragraph that potentially may have the biggest impact for parties who may be estranged after the divorce, or for children who may be estranged from one or both parents. It provides that the Court may order that payments be made to the child, to either party or to the educational institution through a special account or trust created for that purpose.

    Coordinating the timing and amounts to be paid for ongoing expenses can be difficult in even the best of circumstances, particularly when each parent and the child may be contributing separate amounts. Almost all of the schools have online access but much of it is limited to the student alone. This provision solidifies the obligation of the student and the parents to cooperate and execute the releases and consents necessary for information concerning grades, and academic performance to be shared.

    This new provision contains very few words but has a significant meaning in the context of determining the source s of payment for college education. It mandates that the Court is to consider not may consider the following types of accounts as a resource of the child in determining how college expenses are to be paid for:. While custodial accounts, UGMA accounts, UTMA accounts and Plan accounts would clearly fall into this category, it is unclear whether a Trust maintained for the child, would also be accessible to the Court in allocating the expenses between the parties.

    Illinois Divorce and Family Law Changes for 2020 Learn About Law

    Would a parent need to file a Motion seeking to join the Trust to the divorce proceeding to access those funds? The statute is somewhat unclear as to the mechanics of how that would work. The present and future financial resources of both parties to meet their needs, including but not limited to, savings for retirement. Likewise, very few people are able to both leave a marriage with enough savings for both of their retirements.

    For most people, a secure retirement at age 65 is becoming more of a dream than a reality, even in the best of circumstances. Typically, one parent may have a greater ability to earn income in the future, or in some instances, may be eligible to receive gifts or an inheritance from a family member of their own.

    Illinois Statutes Chapter 750. Families § 5/513.Educational Expenses for a Non-minor Child

    This provision makes clear that the establishment of an obligation to pay under this section is retroactive only to the date of filing a petition and that the right to enforce a prior obligation to pay may be enforced either before or after the obligation is incurred. Thus if a parent wants to be reimbursed for expenses during a prior period, a timely petition would seemingly have to be filed a year before a student starts to submit applications.

    This is an entirely new statute which seeks to separate the authority for a court to award support for a non-minor child with a disability. This section speaks to the different ways payments can be made and also speaks to the timing of when a claim needs to be made. Accordingly, it would seem that if any mental or physical disability occurs after the child is no longer attending college pursuant to as amended, then the parents would not have any duty to provide financial support for that child going forward.

    For example diagnosing an anxiety disorder or something more subtle and less overt than a disability visible naked eye also comes to mind. Obviously parental vigilance and cooperation is imperative in looking into such situations at an early age to avoid any timing disputes within these parameters. This section includes largely the same criteria the Court is allowed to consider under the amended section , including resources available for the child through outside agencies and Supplemental Security Income.

    It is unclear why this would apply in only but not of the new statutes, particularly given the substantial costs involved with all of these scenarios. These predicates all contain many concepts which are subjective and may be prone to misinterpretation at best and manipulation at worst. The statute does not require that a person be found to be legally disabled by any government agency or that a physician actually diagnose such a condition.

    Todd R. Warren and Kenneth A. Hoffman Divorce and personal injury, while separate and distinct….