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Can child support be ordered to continue after a child is 18?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2023 | Child Custody

After a Virginia couple decides to end a marriage and get a divorce, children’s issues can be a source for dispute. This might involve custody, parenting time and child support. Regarding support, there is often a natural expectation that it will last until the child turns 18. In other words, when the child is considered an adult, the payments are expected to end. However, that is not always the case.

When might child support be ordered after a child turns 18?

Parents should understand the law as to when there might be an order that the support payments go beyond the child reaching age 18. Special needs children could need financial support and care after they have turned 18.

To facilitate that, the court can order payments be made into a special needs trust or an ABLE savings trust account. An ABLE savings trust account is for people who are disabled and need the money for their health, independence and quality of life.

Payments can also be ordered for those 18 and older if they are still a full-time high school student at the time; do not support themselves; and reside with the custodial parent who is receiving child support payments. This can continue until they turn 19 or graduate from high school.

Regarding payments for children who are disabled, the key is whether the disability was in place before they turned 18. It can be in place before they turn 19 if the above listed factors are in place. They must be incapable of living alone and caring for themselves and reside in the same home as the parent who is asking for the continued support.

Know the facts about unusual situations and how child support can be impacted

Under these circumstances, parents need to be aware of their rights for child support beyond what would be considered the “normal” confines of a case. Generally, child support ceases when the child is deemed to have reached adulthood at 18, but as this shows, that is not always true.

Contacting professionals who care about people’s needs – especially when it comes to children – can be essential when reaching a desired result. This is true from the viewpoint of the parent paying support and the one receiving it. Contacting those with a history of helping people in this situation can provide advice and guidance.