Couples in Texas who get divorced when they have children under the age of 18 still at home must generally agree on many things regarding the children. This includes with whom the children will live what holidays each parent will have with his or her children and who will have legal power to make major decisions for the children. In addition, one spouse is often required to make child support payments to the other spouse.
Some things are clear about child support such as the legal requirement to pay it on time. If this does not happen and too many delinquent payments amass, wage garnishment or even jail time can result. However, other things may not be as clear to some people, such as exactly what child support is and is not intended to provide for. One myth may be that monthly payments are to provide for everything a child or children would need. This is not the case.
In addition, the parent who makes child support payments is not required to pay for anything outside of that set monthly amount if he or she does not wish to. In Texas, for example, child support is intended really only for everyday expenses, what one would consider the basics. Items such as afterschool care, summer camps, swimming lessons, school yearbooks, extracurricular activity fees or uniforms and more are not part of the child support formula.
In some cases, both parents agree to share these costs. However, some support-paying parents may not do this, leaving the support-receiving parent left to fund remaining items. If you are facing a divorce with children, talking to an attorney may help to clarify these and other issues up front.
Source: Huffington Post, “What Child Support Does Not Cover,” Natalie Gregg, June 11, 2014