APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
527 N.E.2d 680, 172 Ill. App. 3d 931, 123 Ill. Dec. 217 1988.IL.1232
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Barbara Gilleran-Johnson, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. LINDBERG, P.J., and UNVERZAGT, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOODWARD
By means of consolidated proceedings, petitioner sought to establish paternity and child support obligations pursuant to the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 (the Parentage Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 2501 et seq.). The trial court entered an agreed order on March 27, 1987, in which Morton Hartman, the respondent, stipulated that he was the father of the minor child, Debra G. Rawles, born May 5, 1969. The order required respondent to pay child support in the amount of $400 per month from January 1987 through June 1987 and $600 in July 1987. On October 2, 1987, Glenda Rawles filed a petition requesting that Hartman pay Debra's college expenses. At the hearing on October 23, 1987, respondent argued that the petition for college expenses should be dismissed because the Parentage Act makes no specific provision for such expenses. The trial court agreed with respondent and dismissed the petition on October 23, 1987. Petitioner appeals from this order. We reverse and remand.
This appeal challenges the decision of the trial court in refusing to apply section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the Dissolution Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 513) to a proceeding brought pursuant to the Parentage Act, wherein petitioner sought contribution for the educational expenses of a nonminor, illegitimate child.
Section 513 of the Dissolution Act, in essence, provides that the court may award sums of money for the education and maintenance of a nonminor child of divorced parents before or after the child reaches the age of majority. Petitioner argues that the failure to apply section 513 to provide for the educational needs of a nonminor, illegitimate child is error and that this arbitrary differentiation between legitimate and illegitimate children results in a violation of the equal protection clauses of the Federal and State Constitutions. U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, § 2.
We agree with petitioner's contention that section 513 of the Dissolution Act is applicable to a proceeding brought under the Parentage Act and that a court may provide for the education and maintenance of a nonminor, illegitimate child, as equity requires. To conclude otherwise would raise serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the overall statutory scheme intended to provide equally for the support of legitimate and illegitimate children.
In Illinois, the traditional rule is that a parent's obligation to support a child terminates at the child's majority except for educational expenses. In re Marriage of Olsher (1979), 78 Ill. App. 3d 627, 638.
Courts, applying their inherent powers of equity, have also established the duty of (divorced) parents to provide for the education of their children beyond the age of majority in appropriate circumstances. (See Maitzen v. Maitzen (1959), 24 Ill. App. 2d 32, 40.) Section 513 of the Dissolution Act is a codification of these judicially developed rules. See Ill. Ann. Stat., ch. 40, par. 513, Historical and Practice Notes, at 788 (Smith-Hurd 1980).
The judicially developed rules codified in section 513 of the Dissolution Act permit a court to "make such provision for the education and maintenance of the child or children, whether of minor or majority age, out of the property and income of either or both of its parents as equity may require, whether application is made therefore before or after such child has, or children have, attained majority age." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 513.) In making such awards, the court is required to consider all relevant factors which appear reasonable and necessary, including the financial resources of both parents, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved, and the financial resources of the child. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 513.
At common law, the father of an illegitimate child had no duty to provide support; the remedy is purely statutory and is to be enforced in the manner prescribed by statute. (Ehorn v. Podraza (1977), 51 Ill. App. 3d 816, 817.) In addition to determining parentage, the purposes of a paternity suit are to provide support for the child born out of wedlock and to prevent the child from becoming a public charge. In re Petition of Sullivan (1985), 134 Ill. App. 3d 455, 460.
Our legislature long ago established the principle that the parent of a child born out of wedlock whose paternity is established is liable for the child's support, maintenance, education, and welfare to the same extent and in the same manner as the parent of a child born in lawful wedlock. (See Wallace v. Wallace (1965), 60 Ill. App. 2d 300, 302; see also Ill. Rev. Stat. 1959, ch. 106 3/4, par. 52.) More recently, this principle was reaffirmed in section 3 of the Parentage Act, which states unequivocally that "[the] parent and child relationship, including support ...