Child support is the legal right of a child to receive financial support from his or her parents. The right to child support exists whether or not the child’s parents were ever married or lived together. The right to child support continues until the child turns 19 years old. If the child is still dependent at age 19 or older—due to illness or disability, or because the child is still in school, for example—the right to financial support will continue.
Usually, if one parent has the primary responsibility for the daily care of the child (ren), also known as custody, the other parent would be the one that pays child support. This does not mean, however, that the parent with custody pays nothing.
Under family law, the parent with custody is also responsible for contributing to the costs of raising the child (ren). However, because the parent with custody and the child (ren) live together, their costs are shared (i.e., any money that the parent with custody spends on the household will also benefit the child); whereas, the contribution made by the other parent is specifically “child support” (i.e., money given directly for the child and with no shared benefits.)