The parties were divorced. The court entered an order as to one of the son’s college expenses. It said that mother would be responsible for 60% of his college expenses. Disabled father would be responsible for 40% of college expenses. later, mother filed a motion to stop her contribution to college expenses. The trial court granted that motion.
Father appealed. The appellate court said that the first court was wrong in terminating mother’s required contribution toward son’s college expenses. The mother had an obligation to prove that her situation had dramatically changed in order to modify the order that she pay 60%. This is also referred to as mother’s need to prove “a substantial change of circumstances”. If no substantial changes are shown, then the order cannot be changed.
The appellate court noted that mother had not shown a substantial change in circumstances. Also, the evidence in the case could not be looked at in any way as supporting a substantial change. The fact that son does not communicate effectively with his mother is not a proper reason, by itself, to terminate support. Also, his decision not to work during college, by itself, does not support a finding of substantial change. And, the fact that son was an average student did not mean that mother should not be paying for his college education. Son had accepted all available types of financial assistance.
Mother’s income from her employment was still nearly twice the amount of disability income father received. Father received far less, even after he started receiving an additional $11,000 to care for a minor daughter of the parties. The appellate court also noted that father was is disabled. Mother, on the other hand, was employed.
Mother would have had to show evidence of something like having lost her job. Or, that she had become burdened with new financial obligations such as medical debt.
In re Marriage of Saracco, 2014 IL App (3d) 130741, November 25, 2014.
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