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Can child support continue for disabled children?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2022 | Arlington Family Law Blog, Divorce |

You may have heard that child support in Virginia eventually comes to an end, usually when the child reaches the age of 18. However, your loved one probably needs financial assistance even after becoming a legal adult because of a disability. Naturally, you may wonder if you can continue to receive support for your child.

Virginia law takes into account the needs of parents who need continuing help for a disabled child. Some guidelines in the state child support laws may be of assistance.

Ongoing support for disabled children

According to Virginia law, a court may grant an order requiring your former spouse or co-parent to pay child support even if your child is over 18 based upon certain conditions. Your child must have a severe and permanent mental or physical disability. The disability must have occurred before your child reached 18 or in some circumstances 19 years of age.

The disability must severely limit what your child can do. Basically, your loved one is not capable of living alone or holding down a job that allows for self-sufficiency. Your child must also live in the home of a parent who receives or is seeking child support.

Other child support extensions

You may have a child who has a disability but does not qualify as severely disabled. Still, Virginia law permits child support to continue for a child who is still in high school full time, cannot exercise self-support, and lives in the home of the parent who receives or seeks child support. However, this option expires when the child turns 19.

If your child has challenges in life, you might try to account for your family situation by setting up a provision such as a trust to help your loved one. If you are only now divorcing with a disabled child, you could factor in how to provide for your child in the settlement.