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Child Support: What Does It Not Cover?

By Brian K. Tackett

Divorce and child custody can be a trying time for every member of a family. Although we like to believe both parents want what is best for their children, money issues and relationship conflicts can make child support a sensitive issue.

The Conflict Of Interest

In Texas, the non-custodial parent typically pays child support, although a court could order either parent to pay. The payment amounts are determined by the non-custodial, or obligor’s, monthly net income. This income includes any gifts, prizes, tips and money from property rent or alimony. An obligor with one child is required to pay at least 20 percent of his or her monthly net income to child support. This is where conflict often arises between the two parents. Often, the obligor claims child support should be regulated to prevent the custodial parent from spending it on himself or herself. Meanwhile, the custodial parent may argue that the funds aren’t enough to sufficiently raise a child. There can be quite a lack of understanding and cordiality on both sides.

What Child Support Covers

Generally speaking, child support covers the basic costs of living for a child. This includes clothing and food along with the additional cost of medical care. In a particularly amicable child support situation, both parents may come to an agreement on the most reasonable amount to pay according to what the parental unit deems appropriate for raising a child. This may mean the minimum payment is sufficient or that the payments will be increased to support other activities and care.

What Child Support Does Not Cover

The state of Texas does not necessarily provide guidelines for what can be covered by child support—other than basic needs and the minimum payment from the obligor. From a custodial parent’s standpoint, minimum child support may not cover quite a few important expenses, particularly with childcare for younger children and extracurricular activities for school-aged children. Activities that are not deemed as necessities for child support payments may include:

  • Private lessons
  • Tutoring
  • Sports equipment and uniforms
  • Musical instruments
  • Recital payments and costumes
  • Camps
  • College funds

Do You Need Help with Child Support?

After a divorce, both parents are still held responsible for their child’s welfare. While parents can arrange child support agreements outside of the courtroom, legal counsel is often necessary to reach an agreement. In these situations, the court will devise a payment plan based on the Texas Family Code. The custody lawyers at Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant are proficient when it comes to resolving child support issues through collaborative law, mediation and litigation. The legal counsel from our law firm’s custody attorneys can help you understand your rights as a parent and help resolve custody issues in a way that best suits all parties involved. Call us at (940) 387-3518, or contact us here to set up a custody consultation.

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