Divorce will never end the legal obligation for support. Although the bond of marriage has been broken, each parent still retains a legal responsibility to provide adequate support until the child reaches the age of emancipation. The legal duties of support are based upon the needs of the child in conjunction with the abilities of the parents as dictated by income (generally after-tax income) and assets.
Support is rarely the sole responsibility of the noncustodial parent since it is understood that the job of the custodial parent is to provide a sufficient household. Child support is a combined effort to obtain a fair distribution of financial responsibility, so the child may live in a manner similar to that which existed before the divorce.
There are many different variables to be taken into consideration, and it must be remembered that all situations are unique. The one common denominator all parents should have is the desire to provide for "the best interests of the child." As in a custody battle, the court will have the final say in all matters. An out-of-court agreement is often the best measure to guard against the unexpected.