Mother filed a petition for father to contribute to their son’s college expenses. The petition alleged that son had graduated from Marmion Academy in Aurora with a 3.75 grade point average. 

He would be enrolling at Purdue University in the fall. The cost of attending Purdue University was approximately $20,000 per year.   Son would not be receiving any scholarships in connection with his enrollment.   Father was earning in excess of $80,000 per year at his work.   Mother argued that father was able to contribute to son’s educational expenses.

Mother testified that son and father had not seen each other in three to five years.  Mother testified that several years earlier there had been an altercation between son and father.  That resulted in an order of protection being filed against father.

Mother testified, however, that she had encouraged son to keep in contact with his father. About two years earlier, son had changed his last name to that of Mother’s current husband.

The trial court entered an order requiring father to be responsible for 10% of son’s college expenses.  The trial court further found that it was appropriate to consider the relationship between father and son.  Mother appealed.

Mother argued that the nature of the child’s relationship to the parent is not relevant. Not in determining to what extent the parent should pay the child’s educational expenses.

The Appellate Court agreed.  The obligation to contribute to educational expenses is not conditioned upon a continued good relationship between parent and child. 

The case was reversed and sent back to the trial court for further proceedings.

iRMO Drysch, 314 Ill.App.3d 640.