Just because the marriage has ended, the parental obligations to financially care for a child do not. In fact they probably won’t end until said child is at least 18 or maybe as old as 25, who knows, there are plenty of “kids” in their 30’s finding their way back to their parent’s basements these days. But I digress, the question is, who pays child support (for children under 18 or 21) after a divorce.
Child support is a monthly payment one parent makes to another in order to help pay for the care and upbringing of a child. The actual rules on child support vary from state to state but in general the parent that does not have custody will make these payments, or, in the event of joint custody, payments could be made by a parent that makes substantially higher income. The intention is to keep both parents responsible for the children and to ensure that the children are well cared for.
Depending on what state you are in, there will be a different official calculation that determines how much child support a parent will pay. You will typically have a court hearing to determine child support and establish payments. If you handle your own divorce you will need to make sure that child support is addressed officially in your divorce decree so that it is enforceable. The amount of child support should be enough to help raise the child without throwing the paying parent into debt. It should be a reasonable and fair payment based on their ability to pay.
If circumstances change over time, you can file for a change in support with the court. The payments can go up or down depending on the situation. Sometimes parents will continue to pay child support after the child is 18 if they are enrolled in college as a full time student.
It used to be pretty standard that the father paid child support and the mother had full custody of the children after divorce. Times have changed and since women have being advanced in their careers, sometimes out earning their husbands, this is no longer the case all of the time. Divorce lawyer nationwide are reporting a higher number of women paying child support (usually while in a joint custody situation.) In general, the focus should be on the children and their needs, in order to reach a fair and equitable solution to the child support issue.