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dkennedy, Attorney at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6009
Experience:  JD Degree, Social Service Experience, Child Support Officer
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My husband and I have been married for 8 years and he has 3 ...

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My husband and I have been married for 8 years and he has 3 children from a previous marriage (11, 16, 20). He has 2 current child support orders in the amount of $1500 per month, but he only makes $30,000 per year. I own my own business (daycare/ within our 8 years of marriage) with my mother. My husband does not have any ownership, but he does work within the company. His ex-wife is trying to sue him for $31,000 for tuition for 2 children, plus full child support for the 16 & 20 year old (1 college, 1 high school). I am the biggest income earner between my husband and I. My question is, when we have to take this back to court will they make me open my company financial records to prove his income, even though he is an employee of the company. I'm sure she will state that they own a business. What's the process in this situation?


I very much doubt that the courts would have the authority to make you show you books to them. They will probably ask for wage records or an itemized statement as to his wages. Make sure you have everything straight as to the ownership of the company. They can do nothing to you. If you had a successful business and he did nothing but watch daytime TV, they could still do nothing to you about your business earnings.

Don't give in and let them look at your books. If they request it in discovery, your husband's attorney needs to object and not give them the info.

dkennedy and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to dkennedy's Post: How will the court go about making him pay for school tuitions and child support on his salary of $30,000 and can she make him pay $31,000 back to her even though he's paying an active child support order?

Hello again,

A lot of what is going to happen depends on the original order. If there is no school tuition mentioned in the original divorce, chances are they will never require him to pay it now. In order to get these things changed, she would have to show a substantial change in circumstances that could not have been anticipated at the time of the divorce. For example, to go in and try to raise the child support amount because the kids are older. That is not something that was not anticipated. But, if someone's wages substantially change, then she can go to court for it.

In Illinois, courts can order educational support regardless of the age of the offspring. Support applications can be filed before or after the person reaches the age of majority, and orders can apply to expenses related college education or other professional training after high school. By law, expenses include room and board, academic fees, tuition, transportation, books, application costs, medical expenses (including insurance), and living expenses during the school year and recesses. Judges must consider the financial resources of the parents and child, as well as the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents not divorced (750 Ill. Comp. State. 5/513).

The $3100 can only be collected if it was something that was ordered previously but not paid. In other words, if he fell behind in his payments. If it is just something that she wants that was never ordered before, he will not have to pay.

I am only assuming some of this, since I don't have the original court order here. But, as a general rule, you can collect what was ordered by the divorce but not paid, but you can't collect a back amount that was never ordered anyway.

dkennedy and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Half of School tuition was in their divorce decree, but according to his can he afford it? She has paid their tuitions for the last 2 years and my husband was not consulted with regarding tuition prices, what school they would attend, how they would work out payments or anything. We received a letter a few days ago stating: You owe me $31,000 thousand dollars for the childrens tuition for the past 2 years. Also, I forgot to mention, she is also a lawyer and her income doubles his. Does the court take this into consideration at all? Or will he just have to pay half regardless.

Hello again,

Let me get a little more information.

Was he making a comparable income at the time of the divorce?

Does the divorce say 1/2 the tuition, no matter what the cost?

Does he have joint custody?

Is she trying to modify the divorce (is that the action she filed recently)?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Good Day,

I can see you were up late, but thank you for responding to my questions.

1. At the time of their divorce he was making less money.

2. The original divorce decree is a little vague. It reads: " Joe & Jane are equally responsible for school cost until age 21".

3. No he does not have joint custody.

4. No she is not trying to modify the divorce, however, I do think this was an attempt/ scare tactic to get him to agree to pay half of the cost in addition to child support. My husband (and I) are paying full support for both children even though 1 child is over 18. We pay for all books, activities and clothing for the children because we want to, in addition to the monthly support. However, he was never consulted with regarding prices or school choice. There seems to be alot of gray area in the divorce decree which leaves some of it up to interpretation. Now we are trying to figure out the gray areas according to the law.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I know its the holiday weekend and your probably getting some much needed R&R, but if you get a momment before Monday to respond to my final question to this situation, We'd greatly appreciate it. We have to set up a meeting with the ex and we wanted to have something substantial to stand on legally with our decision.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Just wondering if my question expired or if I would get a final answer. Been waiting several days for the response. Do I need to pay again or what?

Hello again,

I am so sorry, I must have missed your further questions. You are certainly right about that wording being "vague" about the school costs. It is complicated by him not having joint custody since that may have given him more "say so" about the schools they go to, and the extra curricular activities that may cost him money.

Part of the problem with that high tuition is that if he has been paying it before, even it has been a huge financial burden, the courts will likely not want the children to have to stop going to those private schools. It will be up to your husband to prove that she should be responsible because of the money she makes and because it is her choice to send them to a particular school.

He should set a certain amount that he is able to pay towards their schooling and compose a financial statement showing how much he has for bills, regular child support, and things like that. It can clearly show how he has no more disposable income to pay expensive schools.

There is no clear laws or cases for each circumstance and unfortunately this case is one that will have to be decided individually.

It should be obvious that she makes the decisions, makes much more money, and should pay the bulk of the school costs, unless they are move reasonable.