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A range of expenses is covered by child support

A Texas parent may wonder about the expenses that a child support order is meant to address. Each state establishes its own guidelines, and these affect the amount of support as courts use information about a parent's income as well as the finances needed to maintain the standard of living of a child to the extent possible. While certain needs of a child are meant to be covered by support, it is not required that parents receiving support provide proof of these areas being covered by support payments.

Courts typically do not monitor how child support is used because there is an assumption that a custodial parent will meet the basic needs of a child by covering necessary costs. Issues taken into consideration as a support order is determined include basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing. Medical costs are also considered, including out-of-pocket costs that may not be covered by health insurance. Additional expenses that may be included are child care, transportation, educational fees and extracurricular activities.

Although child support is typically ordered through the time that a child reaches 18 years of age, an order may include provisions for a support-owing parent to assist with college expenses based on the premise that a divorce should not interfere with educational opportunities. These provisions are typically only applicable if a child is attending college on a full-time basis and has not yet graduated.

An individual who owes support may not use the manner in which funds are handled as a reason to withhold child support payments. However, concerns for the well-being of a child or interests in a modification to a support order may be addressed in a court setting. An individual who needs to deal with such concerns may enlist the help of a lawyer to file the necessary petitions to modify support details or custody arrangements.

Source: Findlaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?", December 24, 2014

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