As important as it is for parents to financially support their children, perhaps especially after a divorce or breakup, many find the concept of child support to be confusing. Parents who pay support may wonder what the money is for, and those who receive it may have misconceptions about how they can use the money. While every state has different restrictions and allowances for the use of support payments, there are some general guidelines.
Essentially, child support payments are for those basic needs that a parent would supply if they lived together. Any items a court does not see as falling under the coverage of support some parents negotiate on their own, such as college tuition, private school or certain enrichments activities. In Texas, the custodial parent and may spend child support money on any of the following or other items:
- Clothing for the child
- Housing expenses, such as mortgage payments and utilities
- Transportation expenses
- Medical care
- School-related expenses
- Child care
Of course, as children grow or a parent’s circumstances change, it may happen that court-ordered child support payments no longer cover the child’s necessary expenses. On the other hand, a supporting parent with new family obligations or financial setbacks may have a difficult time meeting the obligation of monthly support payments. In either of these cases, it is wise for parents to seek advice about obtaining a modification of their child support orders. A delay in seeking legal assistance when one is no longer able to pay child support can have long-term ramifications for everyone involved.