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What Does Child Support Cover in Texas?

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Fort Worth family lawyer The custodial parent has little to no say in how much support they will receive from the non-custodial parent concerning child support payments. Child support is court-ordered and legally binding but does not say precisely what it has to be used for. Outside of a child’s basic needs being met, the non-custodial parent can use the payment for anything they see fit. Parents concerned with child support payments should speak to a skilled and experienced family law attorney for more information.

What is Child Support?

Child support is payments the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent to cover their children’s basic needs. Its primary use is to cover the costs of raising a child. Child support typically lasts until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. The amount ordered is non-negotiable, and failure to make child support payments carries a whole host of different penalties.

What Are The Basic Needs of the Child?

Minimum basic needs include:


Dallas, TX child support lawyerUnder Texas law, every parent has a legal responsibility to provide financial support to meet their child’s basic needs. If the parents do not live together, then the non-custodial parent (the parent whom the child does not live with physically) is ordered to pay the custodial parent (the parent the child does live with) child support to help cover the child’s needs. 

Unfortunately, some non-custodial parents think they should not have to pay their ex-partner any money – despite being court-ordered to do so – and will refuse to pay. There are even situations where a noncustodial parent will quit their job just to avoid paying. However, a new Texas law will penalize parents who do not pay child support. If your ex refuses to pay child support, a Texas family law attorney can help.

How Is Child Support Determined?

Although many noncustodial parents feel that the amount of child support they have been ordered to pay is unfair, the actual amount is based on their income using a formula set by the state. The court will calculate the parent’s net income. The amount the parent will pay is a percentage of that income and that percentage is set based on how many children are covered under the court order. For one child, the amount is 20 percent. An additional five percent is added on for each additional child, (i.e., 25 percent for two children).


dallas child support lawyerChild support payments, whether ordered in a divorce decree or through a SAPCR for unmarried parents, are intended to cover a child’s needs until she turns 18 or graduates from high school. Even when child support payments are paid on time and parents generally agree about how to raise a child, there are often still questions about what, exactly, child support payments are intended to cover. 

One grey area that parents frequently wonder about is academic tutoring. As research continues to come out about how lockdowns intended to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 have negatively impacted math and reading scores, parents are scrambling to find ways to help their children catch up. The cost of tutoring can leave parents reeling: Depending on the quality and experience of the tutor, some parents are asked to pay up to $100 an hour. This can result in thousands of extra dollars in costs over the school year and begs the question: Should child support cover tutoring? And, if so, can a child support order be modified to include a tutor’s costs? 

What Does Child Support Cover in Texas? 

Child support payments are meant to cover a child’s basic needs. This includes her medical and dental care, her housing, clothing, and food, and her educational needs. Activities that are considered extracurricular - such as sports, club activities, and summer camps - are generally not included in child support payments. They are seen as unnecessary extras, and, while parents can agree together to enroll a child in extracurricular activities, a parent cannot usually be required to pay for them with child support payments. 


fort-worth-child-support-modification-attorney.jpgWhen parents of an underage child get divorced or establish a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), child support payments become part of a legally-enforceable court order. These orders are an essential part of making sure a child has the support he or she needs from both parents and sometimes, as time goes by and circumstances change, modifying an order is necessary. Understanding when child support orders can be modified is important for avoiding frivolous suits and increasing the chances of your petition’s success. Read this blog for an overview of when child support may be increased, then call an experienced Texas child support attorney for help with your case. 

When Can a Texas Child Support Order Be Modified? 

During a child support review process (CSRP) or court hearing, a judge will examine both parents’ claims and determine whether a change in child support, such as an increase, decrease, or termination, is necessary and appropriate. Generally speaking, child support orders can only be modified in the following circumstances: 

  • A substantial change in circumstances has changed since the original support order was put into place 


TX family lawyerParents getting divorced in Texas are justifiably concerned about how the divorce could impact their children. In addition to having to possibly move out of the family home, the children must adjust to life with only one parent at a time. Parents likewise experience major transitions during divorce, especially in relation to their children, and one of the most important areas of change is child support.

Parents wishing to save time and money may wonder if they can create a child support agreement on their own without help from a court. To understand more about how establishing child support payments works in Texas, read on.

Can Parents Create Their Own Child Support Agreement?

Parents in Texas are encouraged to resolve issues in their divorce without litigating them in court. While this usually saves time and money, it also spares parents and children the anxiety and conflict of hashing things out in front of a judge.

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