A mother could file for child support of a disabled daughter even though she had turned 18 and gotten her GED, which terminated the father's previous child support obligation, the Virginia Court of Appeals says in Mayer v. Corso Mayer. That is a fundamental change from what Virginia lawyers thought the law was, but the Court says the statute "expressly" requires this result by its "plain language".
The statute allows filing for "continued" child support for a completely and permamently disabled child over the age of 18. That wording is somewhat paradoxical, because on the one hand it is about a child over 18, but on the other hand, "continued" implies that there would be no break between the regular, under-18 child support and the new support, which would mean that the filing would have to be while the regular support obligation is still in effect. (That does not end precisely at 18 in most cases; it goes until age 19 or leaving high school or leaving home, whichever come first, which allows a brief window in which there is no contradiction.)
In this case, the only reason the child support was "continued" instead of resumed is that the father kept paying it after he no longer had to. He was not informed of the child earning her GED. However, the Court's ruling probably does not rest on that narrow distinction. Its thrust seems to be that parents can file these cases when the child is an adult. But it does not actually address the meaning of "continuing" and on whether its ruling is limited to this somewhat unusual although not unique case where the support has still continued up to the time of the filing.
The bottom line seems to be that caution is in order for both parents, in cases where a court has not already ordered continuing support, but could. The custodial parent should still file ASAP after the child turns 18, while support continues for other reasons, or even better, before the child turns 18. And the non-custodial parent should never assume complete immunity from a child support filing after a child is an adult.
The father also questioned why the mother would have standing to be the one filing for the child support, since the child was an adult, but the court answered commonsensically that if she did not, who would?
The trial court's fee award to the mother was reversed, however, because no specific statute or contractual provision authorized it, and there is no general authority to award fees to a prevailing party.