Who Pays For College In A Divorce?

who pays for college in a divorce

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

In this week’s Love Essentially, I offer a look at Illinois law when it comes to who pays for college in a divorce. Unfortunately, divorced people are required by law to contribute to their kids’ college education, while married couples are not. Doesn’t seem fair to me, but a new court decision might pave the way to some changes in statutes.

Is it fair for courts to make divorced parents pay for kids’ college?

by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group

There is no law requiring married couples to pay for college for their children, but when it comes to divorced or divorcing parents, there apparently is.



A 40-year-old Illinois law states that if you are divorced or getting divorced, your spouse can file a petition to allocate part of the responsibility of your children’s college expenses to you. Sound fair? Not to me, a divorced mom of two.

I only learned about this law — which, in my opinion, discriminates against and borderline penalizes divorced parents — when I read a recent news story on the Cook County Record’s website.

The article was about a ruling earlier this month by DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Thomas A. Else, that the current law cannot force a divorced dad, Charles Yakich, to pay for his daughter, Dylan, to attend college.

The ruling was based on Yakich’s motion that argued the law is unfair because it requires divorced parents to pay for college while not requiring the same of married couples.

Also in the motion, (Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press)

Like this article? Check out, “Going Through an Unfair Divorce?”


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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

    One Response to “Who Pays For College In A Divorce?”

    1. Ashleigh Lacher

      I’m a single parent of two and literally in the middle of an “allocation of college expenses” case in DuPage County. I found your article very interesting. I think my reasons for pursuing college expenses are atypical, but I could be wrong. The last thing I want is to be the person who thinks their situation is “different” or “special” simply because it’s happening to them! I’m wondering if the responses to the article were more positive or negative? This is a topic I would like to further explore, if possible. Thank you.


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