Hirsch & Ehlenberger P.C.

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In consideration of the government guidance for COVID-19, our office is providing appointments in virtual settings either through phone or video conferencing when requested. We are still available to meet in person if that is your preference. Face masks must be worn in all common areas of the of the office suite and building. Some courts in Northern Virginia are still only hearing emergency matters, so if you have questions about your specific case, please contact the attorney assigned to your case or ask during your consult.

Hirsch & Ehlenberger P.C.

In consideration of the government guidance for COVID-19, our office is moving appointments to virtual settings either through phone or video conferencing. We are still taking consultations and meeting with clients through these methods. If you believe your case requires in-person interaction with an attorney, please call the office and we will work with you on a case-by-case basis to ensure that we comply with required social distancing. Please note that the courts throughout Northern Virginia have announced that with the exception of emergency hearings and protective orders, all court appearances through April 26, 2020 are continued and will be rescheduled when the courts resume operations. It is possible that this date will be further extended. If you have questions about your specific case, please contact the attorney assigned to your case.

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Can child support from a Virginia divorce last through college?

Young adults usually depend on their parents to make college costs accessible. The cost of a single semester’s tuition is likely more than a young adult could earn at a part-time job. Parents help young students by contributing toward college costs or helping by co-signing student loans.

Everyone in the family usually chips in to help aspiring students get into and pay for college. Unfortunately, a parental divorce can disrupt the household to a point where it affects the child’s college prospects.

It can be hard enough to pay your bills when receiving child support, let alone to think about setting thousands of dollars a year aside for college tuition in the future. Can you depend on your ex to continue paying child support through college?

In Virginia, support doesn’t last through college

Custody and support orders are either the result of a litigated divorce or an agreement between spouses. Barring special agreements entered into by divorcing parents, the Virginia courts have to set terms that follow legal guidelines.

Most child support orders terminate when the child graduates from high school or turns 19. In cases where a child has significant special needs, the courts may order longer-lasting child support to help offset the expenses incurred by the parent providing care and support for the adult child.

If your child is college-bound, they likely don’t qualify for long-term support due to special needs. The courts will not usually order support through college even if one parent is unable to cover all of the expenses on their own.

You can factor college costs into your divorce strategy

When negotiating with your ex or deciding how aggressive to be when pursuing property, thinking about college expenses can help you keep perspective. You don’t just want the short-term benefit of winning a negotiation. You need enough support and assets to provide for your children.

Ideally, your income combined with support will allow you to set some money aside for college, and your ex will also contribute to those funds. If you can’t reach an agreement together, you may have to shoulder the burden of setting your children up for professional success.

It’s important to understand that even if you are not in a position to save while receiving child support that there will be many options available to your family for financing your child’s college education. Remembering college costs during negotiations can help remind you of your child’s future and keep your priorities straight during a contentious divorce.