What child support is used for

When parents in Texas get a divorce, one parent might be required to pay child support to the other. While child support is usually paid to the custodial parent, this is not always the case.

The custodial parent is generally the parent who has physical custody of the child. The other parent might still have ample visitation time. If one parent has physical custody, parents may still share legal custody. Fathers are often the ones who pay child support, but some mothers must pay it as well.

A parent might be required to pay child support regardless of whether the two were ever married. The purpose of child support is sharing the financial responsibility for the child's basic needs between both parents. A parent who cannot keep up with child support payments may be able to file a request to have the child custody payment modified.

A child support agreement could specify what child support payments are supposed to be used for, but in general, they should not be for a parent's personal use. They can be used toward rent and utilities since this is part of the child's shelter. Food, medical expenses, school expenses, extracurricular activities and furnishings for the child's use are all examples of items that can be paid for using child support.

In some cases, parents may want to make an informal agreement about child support without going through the court system. The disadvantage here is that if a parent stops paying support, there may be no legal recourse for the other parent. Getting a formal child support order in place means that the office of child support enforcement can assist a parent in collecting support if necessary. These measures might include garnishing a parent's wages, but a parent's access to the child should not be affected by unpaid child support.

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