Children are incredibly expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars just to give birth, possibly more if there are complications that require surgery or extensive stays in the hospital after delivery. Children require at least 18 years of educational support, healthcare, clothing and food. They also increase a family’s housing costs by forcing them to rent larger apartments or buy bigger houses.
The child support that you receive can contribute toward paying any of those expenses. However, you may be acutely aware that the biggest expense for your children is yet to come. After they graduate from high school, they may go on to college.
Can you expect child support to continue throughout your children’s college educations?
Virginia child support orders end with high school
Unfortunately, with exceptions involving children with debilitating medical conditions, most child support orders in Virginia end when a child turns 19 or graduates from high school.
The courts typically will not force one parent to continue contributing to a child’s expenses after they become a legal adult with a diploma even if they attend one of the most expensive colleges in the country.
Your family can reach its own arrangements
You are not fully dependent on state law to create workable financial arrangements for your family. You can also directly negotiate with your ex or attend mediation together to resolve your outstanding marital issues amicably.
Couples can theoretically cooperate and reach agreements, like an arrangement for both of them to contribute equally toward college costs, that the Virginia family courts would not impose on someone. Provided that you include detailed information about those agreements in the paperwork that you submit to the courts, you will potentially be in a position to create an agreement that will hold your ex accountable for some of your children’s college costs.
Although many parents begrudge paying child support to a certain degree, college contributions could be very different because they will go directly to a school and not to the other parents. If your ex has always recognized the importance of a post-secondary education, they may be more open to such negotiations than you initially think.
Educating yourself about the rules for Virginia child support decisions will help you provide the best possible future for your children.