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In family law, Child Support (or “child maintenance”) is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child following a divorce and the end of a marriage.
Child maintenance is paid directly or indirectly by one parent to another for the care and support of children of a relationship that has been dissolved. Often the payee is a non-custodial parent. The recipient is typically a custodial parent, a caregiver, a guardian, or even the state.
Depending on the jurisdiction, a custodial parent may pay child support to a non-custodial parent. Typically one has the same duty to pay child support irrespective of gender, so a mother is required to pay support to a father just as a father must pay a mother.
Where there is joint custody, the child is considered to have two custodial parents and no non-custodial parents, and a custodial parent with a higher income may be required to pay the other custodial parent .
In family law, child support is often arranged as part of a divorce, marital separation, dissolution of marriage, annulment, determination of parentage or dissolution of a civil union and may supplement alimony (spousal support) arrangements.