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How long does child support last in Virginia?

Child support payments can have major impacts for parents. So, whether a parent is receiving or making such payments, he or she may wonder how long such payments are to continue. We will now go over when child support obligations generally end here in Virginia.

Child support is mainly for minors. So, a parent can typically ask that a child support obligation be terminated once a child is no longer a minor. Here in Virginia, that is at age 18.

However, in Virginia law, there are a couple exceptions under which child support could remain in place even after a child turns 18. For both of these exceptions, the child in question must be living with the parent who is getting or pursuing support.

One of these is the high school exception. It is for children who are not self-supporting and are still in high school full-time. When this exception applies, child support is to continue up until the first of these two things happens:

  • The child graduates
  • The child turns 19

The other is the disability exception. It is for children who have a permanent and severe mental or physical disability and cannot live independently and support themselves. For this exception to apply, the child's disability must have begun either before age 18 or before age 19 if the high school exception applied. Under the disability exception, courts have the option to have child support payments for these children continue after they turn 18.

As one can see, there are special situations in which the typical rules for when a request for a termination of child support obligation would be granted don't apply. This underscores the fact that special exceptions can come up in many aspects of child support. Understanding whether their situation would trigger any special exceptions can be important for parents who are paying or are seeking/receiving child support.

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