The provisions of a divorce decree may be modified to require one or both parents to provide for the education and maintenance of a child. Whether that child is of a minority or majority age.

But, provisions respecting maintenance or support may be modified only as to installments accruing after the filing of the motion for modification.

In this case, the original divorce decree contained no provision requiring the husband to contribute toward the costs of his son’s college education. Therefore, that decree imposed no legal obligation upon him to specifically do so.

Modification of that decree to include contribution by the husband was not sought by the wife until she filed a Petition for Rule to Show Cause. She asked the court to order this contribution by her husband.

Any court order could only require such contribution going back only to the date her petition was filed. It was unclear as to when her petition was filed. It is also unclear as to the date fixed by the trial court to begin the husband’s obligation to contribute toward his son’s education.

The Appellate Court sent the case back to the trial court to determine exactly when the wife had filed her petition. That would be the date that the husband would begin to pay toward the son’s college education. If the wife had been paying for the son’s college education for some time, it is now too late for her to ask that husband pay a part of that. Husband would only be required to pay going forward from the date that wife filed her petition for contribution to that expense.

Potacki v. Potacki, 98 Ill.App.3d 501.

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