Child Support - payment for the support of the children of divorced or separated parents while the children are minors or as otherwise legally required
So you've divorced and you want to make sure that wherever your children end up, they can live without feeling the economic disadvantage of living with one parent. The remedy for this situation is to file for child support, a government program which allows a divorced parent to pay into a fund which would be used for the affected child's well-being. The non-custodial parent would pay the custodial parent a certain amount of money monthly towards this cause. The amount of money required to be payed varies based on respective parental incomes, expenses, and state. Some judges are allowed considerable freedom in deciding the amounts as long as they follow the state guidelines in some respect. Miscellaneous factors that determine child support payments revolve around the needs of children and parents involved.
Oftentimes when determining child support, the pre-divorce standards of living are heavily observed. If you want to change a child support post-decision, both parties must agree to the change and a judge must approve of it. When calculating child support, know that the court can judge your income to be based on what you could at the most be earning, not necessarily what you are earning. If you leave a high paying job to take a lower paying job for quality of life, or to go back to school, the judge may deem that the child's needs are above your own, and so require the payments to be as if you still had the high paying job.
For more in depth information on child support and how it is calculated, visit a professional attorney in the field of divorce law.