Following up some additional information to my last blog article about a parents obligation to pay for their children’s college expenses, comes some additional interesting scenarios that are important to keep in mind.
What if my Judgment for Dissolution states that Section 513 college expenses are reserved? What happens to my obligation to pay college expenses?
If your obligation is reserved then this means that at this time the issue has not been decided. The issue of college expenses at the time the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage was entered into was either to early or just not an appropriate time to decide the issue. What does this mean for you? When the time comes you would have to come into court and petition the court for a contribution from your ex as well as the court determining what your contribution would be. However, be careful when you decide to bring this issue before the court. In a case called In re the Marriage of Peterson, the mother brought a petition before the court requesting that the father contribute to the college expenses of their eldest child. However, the mother didn’t petition the court until AFTER the child had graduated college. The Court held that the mother is only entitled to seek contribution of expenses for college starting from the expenses that were incurred from the date that she petitioned the court about the issue. Meaning, any college expenses that she was seeking from the father before she filed her petition, were NOT going to be reimbursed to her. See In re Marriage of Peterson, 2011 IL 110984.
This is an example of the importance of contacting a lawyer who knows the specific ins and out of family law.
Additionally, always keep in mind that when you petition the Court for any expenses that you are seeking reimbursement from, be sure to keep very organized records with proof of payment and receipts. If you cant show that you paid them, then the Court may think you never did.