What Is Child Support Technically Supposed to Be Used for in Texas?

By Brenna Davis

Child support is money paid by a noncustodial parent to cover a portion of the child's expenses. Texas child support payments are based on the income of the noncustodial parent, but a custodial parent may seek an increase in child support to cover some things, such as extraordinary medical expenses. Child support can be used to cover a number of expenses, and the custodial parent has broad discretion in determining how to use child support.

Child support is money paid by a noncustodial parent to cover a portion of the child's expenses. Texas child support payments are based on the income of the noncustodial parent, but a custodial parent may seek an increase in child support to cover some things, such as extraordinary medical expenses. Child support can be used to cover a number of expenses, and the custodial parent has broad discretion in determining how to use child support.

Calculations

In Texas, child support is based on the payer's income. Parents with one child pay 20 percent of their income, with the amount increasing with each additional child. Employers must deduct child support directly from a payer's paycheck. County child support agencies collect the child support funds and then disburse them to the custodial parent.

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Child Support Uses

Parents may use child support to cover a broad array of expenses associated with the child. These include educational, health care and housing expenses, as well as family utility bills, mortgage payments, travel expenses, clothing and food. Child support payments do not have to be kept separate from other household money, and the payer does not have to consent to expenses child support covers.

Parental Discretion

Texas law grants broad discretion to payees in determining how to use child support. For example, if child support is used to cover the mortgage, this is not a misuse of funds because it is presumed that the parent uses this money to house the child. Child support may also be considered a reimbursement for expenses already paid. Thus, if a parent uses part of a child support payment to pay for a vacation or other discretionary expense, this is not a misuse because that parent may have already paid for the child's expenses with her own money. Unless the child is being neglected, and her basic expenses are not covered, the parent may use the child support payment as she pleases.

Child Support Misuse

You may not simply stop paying child support simply because you disagree with how the money is being used. Doing so could result in contempt charges, wage garnishments and late fees. It is very difficult to prove that support is not being used to pay for a child's expenses unless the child is being neglected. Because child support is considered a fundamental right of children, Texas does not take the payee's income into account. Noncustodial parents must support their children, even if this results in the custodial parent having "extra" money.

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What Does Child Support Typically Pay For?

References

Related articles

What Are Extraordinary Expenses in a Divorce in California?

In California divorces, both parents must contribute to the support of any minor children. Child support laws enforce this responsibility. Courts order noncustodial parents to pay a set amount every month toward the costs of raising their children; the appropriate amount is determined under statewide uniform guidelines. However, courts may order an additional contribution for certain costs termed "extraordinary expenses."

How Are Child Support Costs Figured Out in California?

Like many other states, California has established statewide child support guidelines to provide consistent child support awards for similarly-situated parents throughout the state. The amount of support ordered is based on two factors: the net income of both parents and the amount of time each parent has custody of the child. Attorneys and judges use computer programs to produce a final support figure. The amount awarded is subject to periodic adjustments to accommodate changes in circumstances.

What Percentage of Income Does Child Support Take for One Kid?

Each state's laws determine how much child support a non-custodial parent must pay after a divorce, and the rates and method of calculation vary between states. These payments are intended to pay for a child's normal expenses, such as housing, food, clothing and education. Though courts frequently use the guidelines to set child support amounts, courts do not have to follow them in cases where they would not be appropriate, such as when a child needs special medical care because of a disability.

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