Child support is a parent’s legal obligation to contribute to the financial care and costs of raising his or her child. Usually support is provided until the child reaches the age of majority, or child’s emancipation before reaching majority or the child’s completion of secondary education. This obligation is enforceable both civilly and criminally.
In the context of custody or divorce action it refers to the money legally owed by one parent to the other for the expenses incurred for children of the marriage. In such cases, child support is determined as part of the divorce settlement along with other issues such as alimony, custody and visitation. In other cases either parent can file a petition for child support.
Child support laws and regulations vary from state to state. Most states have laws providing guidelines on how to calculate child support payments. Most of the states require that it should be based on the the best interests of the child. The right to child support being a child’s right it cannot be waived and any divorce decree provision waiving child support is void.