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How are College Expenses Handled During a Divorce?College is not cheap. Since the 1980s, college tuition costs have risen more than 200 percent for public universities across the country, making covering the expense of higher education more difficult than ever. Because of this, young adults are living with their parents longer than any generation prior to them. For parents getting a divorce, paying for their children’s college education can be a point of contention during the divorce negotiations. Fortunately, Illinois law has included provisions in the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) on how post-secondary education expenses are distributed between parents.

Covering the Costs

The IMDMA allows courts to allocate costs to either or both parents based on a variety of factors. The judge can order that property allocated to either spouse during the asset division process be used to pay for post-secondary education, either now or when the time comes. Child support payments can also be extended beyond when the child turns 18 for the purpose of paying for college. A variety of things can be included in college costs, as long as the costs are accrued before the child’s 23rd birthday, or in some cases, the child’s 25th birthday. These costs can include:

  • A prep course for a standardized college entrance exam
  • Two standardized college entrance exam fees
  • Fees for up to five college applications
  • Tuition and fees
  • Housing expenses and meal plans
  • Medical insurance and dental expenses
  • Reasonable living expenses for the child
  • Books and supplies 

Who Pays for What?

As mentioned before, either parent or both parents can be held responsible for paying for the costs related to the child’s college education. If the parents cannot come to an agreement as to how these costs will be covered, it will be up to the judge to decide for them. The judge will make his or her decision based on a variety of factors, including:

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DuPage County divorce asset division attorneyWhen you are married, your assets become intertwined with your spouse. This can be a good thing that brings much convenience as a married couple, but it can become a huge nightmare if you get a divorce. Before your divorce can be finalized, you and your spouse must come to an agreement over many things, one of them being who gets what property. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own, a judge may have to intervene. He or she will follow a specific set of guidelines that are contained in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) when determining how to divide marital property.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Before anything can be split up, it must be determined what is and is not subject to division. According to the IMDMA, any and all property, including debts and other obligations acquired by either spouse during the marriage, is marital property and is subject to division. Non-marital property is not subject to division in a divorce and includes:

  • Property that a spouse acquired by gift, legacy, or descent or property acquired in exchange for that property
  • Property acquired by either spouse before the marriage or property acquired in exchange for that property
  • Property acquired by either spouse after a legal separation
  • Property excluded as written in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Factors to Consider in Property Division Decisions

Once it is determined what is considered marital or non-marital property, then the judge will distribute the marital property between the two spouses. The judge is not allowed to make decisions based on marital conduct, but will consider, among other relevant issues, the following factors:

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Will County asset division attorneyWhen a couple marries, they not only join their lives but also their wealth and assets. If you and your spouse are considering getting a divorce, you may have questions about how your accumulated property will be divided. Some states automatically divide marital property exactly in half, but Illinois courts use a more nuanced process for determining how marital property is split between divorcing spouses. If you plan to get a divorce in Illinois, you should know how assets are divided according to the state’s equitable distribution laws.

Differentiating Between Marital Property and Non-Marital Property 

Only marital property is divided during a divorce. Assets acquired during the marriage by either spouse are considered marital property, with exceptions for inheritances, certain gifts, and property addressed in a valid prenuptial agreement. Non-marital or separate property generally includes assets acquired by either spouse before the marriage or after separation. However, it is important to note that assets acquired before the marriage which have been commingled with the other spouses’ assets may be considered marital property during divorce. 

In Illinois divorces, marital property is divided in a way that is just and reasonable based on each spouse’s circumstances. This division method differs from the property division methods of other states in that marital property is not always evenly divided. For example, Illinois courts may be more likely to award the family home to the spouse who will have more parental responsibilities.

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Joliet divorce attorney marital property real estateWhen two people get married, they usually have every intention of building a life together. In most cases, this means sharing their assets and assuming joint responsibility for their debts and obligations. When a couple decides to get divorced, they are faced with the task of dividing those shared assets and debts. Under the law in Illinois, marital property must be divided between divorcing spouses in a manner that is fair and equitable based on the couple’s circumstances.

It can be difficult, in some cases, to know for sure whether a particular asset should be considered marital property. This is especially true for high-value assets like a car or the marital home that might have only one name listed as the owner. Can an asset that is titled in the name of just one spouse be considered marital property during divorce?

Whose Name Is Listed?

There are several factors that determine whether your home is a marital asset, and the name on the deed or mortgage is not usually among these factors. It is not uncommon for a couple to list just one spouse on a mortgage--often for credit reasons--but the name that is listed has virtually no effect on classifying the home as marital or separate property. While this may be surprising, the law regarding marital property in Illinois was designed to reduce confusion and to prevent spouses from manipulating their circumstances to gain an unfair advantage.

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