Not so fast, know the basics: Do you owe college expenses under your foreign divorce registered in Illinois?
Not so fast, know the basics:
Do you owe college expenses under your foreign divorce registered in Illinois?
By Blake Austin Culver
College expenses are complicated, especially when parents are divorced and have relocated, due to new employment or being in the military.
In initial divorce cases in Illinois, the payment of post-secondary educational expenses for the parties’ children, including for college, university, vocational or training schools, may be required to be paid by both parents under Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/513). It has been well established in Illinois that post-secondary educational expenses are a form of child support, extending beyond the age of majority of 18. However, what if you were initially divorced in another state?
There are some states, like Illinois, that may require the payment of post-secondary educational expenses for the parties’ children by divorcing spouses. However, there are some states that do not. In such instances, post-secondary educational expenses will be unmentioned or “silent” in the initial divorce decree, indicating that post-secondary educational expenses are not required by that state’s law, as only non-minor children are entitled to support.
But what happens when you and your former spouse move out of a state that does not require post-secondary educational expenses, and then your former spouse registers the foreign divorce in Illinois, requesting its modification and seeking payment from you for post-secondary educational expenses? Would you owe post-secondary educational expenses?
Presently, Section 611 of the Illinois Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (Illinois UIFSA, 750 ILCS 22/611) helps to guide the inquiry. Section 611(c) states, in applicable part: “A tribunal of this state may not modify any aspect of a child-support order that may not be modified under the law of the issuing state, including the duration of the obligation of support.” Further, Section 611(d) states, in pertinent part: “In a proceeding to modify a child-support order, the law of the state that is determined to have issued the initial controlling order governs the duration of the obligation of support.” Accordingly, it can be argued under the Illinois UIFSA, if the initial divorce decree were from a state where the duration of the obligation of child support terminates at the age of majority, an Illinois court cannot require post-secondary educational expenses for the parties’ children.
These are the basics, but there are more. If you have any questions regarding whether you owe post-secondary educational expenses pertaining to your foreign divorce registered in Illinois, contact the law firm of Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale Ltd. You may request a free case evaluation by clicking on the case-evaluation button below.