Child support and paying for college in Virginia

Child support is an important way for divorced parents to ensure their child has the things they need as they grow. However, as your child approaches adulthood, you may wonder whether they will still receive support as they attend college. What should parents know about child support and their child’s college education?

When does child support end in Virginia?

Virginia law requires parents to support their child until the age of 18, except that if the child is in high school and living with a custodial parent, child support continues until the earlier of the child’s high school graduation or nineteenth birthday or until they graduate from high school, whichever comes first. The law does allow for exceptions for children with significant disabilities or if parents agree to extend child support after their child is eighteen.

Who pays for college?

Because child support ends when a child graduates from high school, that support will not generally cover the cost of their college tuition. As a result, one parent could become responsible for their child’s college expenses if the other refuses to pay those costs.

However, parents can prepare for their child’s future during a divorce. They may, for example, include an agreement about funding their child’s college education in their divorce agreement. Parents may also want to put some of their assets into a trust or fund an account like a 529 plan with their child as the beneficiary to set aside money for their child’s college fund.

Preparing for your child’s college education can be challenging, especially when a divorce changes so much of your life. However, with care and experienced guidance, you can prepare for their future as you move into the next chapter of your life.



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