When does the obligation to pay child support end?

The easy answer to this question is….when the court said it ends.

Support for your children is more than a moral obligation, it is also a legal obligation that is described in an order of the court.  The court order will tell you how much the child support payment will be and when it should be paid (for example, $400 a month to be paid on the first of each month).

The court order will also tell you when the obligation to pay child support will end.  Generally in Virginia, child support is paid until the child reaches the age of 18, or the age of 19 if the child is still a full-time student in high-school.

Sometimes the parents will come to an agreement that child support should be paid while the child is enrolled in college or any other type of education.  This is often done through negotiations during a divorce process and the courts will generally include the child support obligation in the final decree of divorce.

There are also situations where the child might have a special need so that everyone agrees that the child support should be paid for a longer period, or even for the life of the child.

The important thing to remember is to read the court order!

Just because your child has reached his or her 18th birthday does not necessarily mean that your obligation to pay support has ended.

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