Many times, couples expecting a child never get legally married. If they split up, they have a lot more leeway to handle matters such as property division and child support compared with married couples. With the right co-parents and the right situation, having this leeway can be amazing.
However, after time passes, you may need to formalize some arrangements such as child support. For example, perhaps the parent paying support no longer does so fully or is constantly late. In a situation like this, you may be wondering if it is too late to formalize a child support agreement.
Age of child
If the child is 18 or older, then, yes it may be too late to legally formalize a child support agreement. Moreover, it would probably be up to the other parent's goodwill if he or she wants to make up missed back payments. So, if your child is turning 18 soon and you are expecting the other parent to help with college tuition and expenses, have that talk now instead of assuming the payments will happen.
If your child is a minor, then you can likely formalize child support agreements. For many people, the easiest way to handle this is to contact a lawyer and go from there. Virginia has a lot of information online to help parents seeking child support, but navigating it and figuring everything out can still be confusing and time-consuming. It could be even trickier if legal paternity was never established, and the father is trying to use that to avoid paying support.
Why a parent stops
It is important to consider the reasons that child support lessened or stopped in your informal agreement. For example, maybe the parent lost his or her job or went to jail. Perhaps the parent was presented with legal child support orders for other children and is paying these first. In such cases, you can probably still formalize a child support agreement, but the amounts may be low compared with what you prefer to get. This can also be true if the parent was paying more than state recommendations and wants to follow what the state recommends now.