College costs can weigh on every family, but in particular, children whose parents are divorced too often endure a financial burden long after their parents have separated. In fact, a new study shows that children of divorced parents typically receive far less help with their college payments. Considering how tuition rates have skyrocketed, it is extremely important for Illinois residents who are going through a divorce to discuss the burden of college costs during the property settlement.

An article in U.S. News and World Report indicates that the average cost of a non-profit, private university is higher than $35,000 per year. For a public university, the amount is lower at $20,000. However, hardly anyone would regard either of those figures as minimal.

College has become so expensive that many parents in the U.S. are simply unable to pay for it. Moreover, children of divorce tend to face tougher financial consequences than children whose parents have managed to stay together. Statistics show that only 42 percent of tuition is paid for children with divorced parents, while 77 percent of tuition is paid for children whose parents are still married.

One student took matters into her own hands when her parents divorced in 2004. Suspecting that her father would stop paying for her college, the student initiated a contract requiring him to fund her tuition until she turned 25 years old. In exchange for her father’s payments, the daughter agreed to apply for scholarships and other financial aid. During her senior year, the contract came in handy when her father stopped making tuition payments. She brought a lawsuit against him, and the judge ruled in her favor, requiring the father to pay his daughter’s attorney fees plus $47,000.

Although this is an unfortunate occurrence that likely strained the father-daughter relationship, it illustrates the very real concern many parents and children have with regard to paying for college. With these issues in mind, Illinois parents who are going through a divorce would do well to bring up college costs when negotiating a divorce settlement.

Source:, “Cost of college a burden for children of divorce,” Ed Greenberger, June 28, 2012