Under Virginia law, both parents have a duty to provide support to their minor children, regardless of whether the parents are currently married or were married in the past. Child support cases usually occur following a divorce or where the father has not married the mother of a child and is not providing support, and, if paternity of the child can be established in the case of an unwed father, the courts will require that a non-custodial parent provide child support. Where the parents share custody, the courts will look at the incomes of both parents, the shared expenses, and the proportion of time each parent has custody, and reach an amount that one parent must pay the other on behalf of the child. Generally, this amount is based on the child support guidelines found in Virginia Code Section 20-108.2. But, how long does child support have to paid in Virginia?
Child Support Is Mandatory Through at Least a Child’s 18th Birthday
The law in Virginia is that a parent paying child support must continue to make payments until the child reaches the age of 18. Payments must be made until the child reaches the age of 19 in some cases so long as the child is:
- A full-time high school student;
- Not self-supporting; and
- Living in the home of the parent receiving the child support payments
Situations in Which Child Support Might Be Extended
In addition, child support might have to be paid beyond a child’s 18th birthday or high school graduation where: 1) the child is “severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled” and this disability existed while the child was otherwise eligible for child support (before turning 18 or while a full-time high school student living with the other parent); 2) the child is unable to live independently and support himself or herself; and (3) is residing in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support.
Parents are also free to reach their own agreements regarding the amount of child support payments and the duration of payments, but a court will only approve and enforce these agreements when they are in the best interests of the child. In such agreements, parents can agree that child support will be paid into a child’s adulthood past the time in which the state would mandate support, and the courts can enforce such an agreement.
Experienced Virginia Family Law Attorneys
At Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC in Fredericksburg, Virginia, we will guide through your questions regarding child support, and help you work towards a favorable outcome in your family law matter. To schedule a consultation with one of our Virginia family law attorneys, contact Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC at 540.642.1766.