Child support is a critical element of any divorce involving children, and it is a complicated issue that demands close attention. Understanding the basics as they relate to child support in Texas can help you move past your divorce with increased confidence – knowing that your children’s best interests are provided for.
The Payor’s Responsibility
There are many issues that can be at issue in a divorce, including the division of property, child custody, spousal maintenance, and child support. If you are the primary custodial parent, it means that your children live primarily with you and spend time with their other parent according to a visitation schedule. As such, you financially provide for your children’s needs and creature comforts on a daily basis, and this is your ongoing contribution to their financial support. Your child’s other parent, however, has a financial responsibility to continue supporting your shared children, and this obligation is fulfilled via monthly child support payments.
The Payee’s Responsibility
If you receive child support, it will come in the form of monthly payments in a specific amount. The presumption is that this support will go toward your children’s continued care, but the court does not track how you spend the money. As the custodial parent, you obviously run a household for the benefit of your children and regularly incur expenses on their behalves. Therefore, you are not obligated to demonstrate that the child support payments go directly toward your children. Your ex’s child support payments will first be funneled through the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Registry before being deposited directly in your bank account. The Registry serves as a ledger that records the ongoing status of your account.
Your child support payments will likely be withdrawn directly from your ex’s paycheck each month. A Wage Withholding Order will be drafted along with your Divorce Decree, and this order entitles your ex’s employer to withhold money from his or her paycheck for your child support payments. If your child's other parent changes jobs, it is his or her responsibility to notify both the court and you of the change.
If your ex pays child support, he or she will also be responsible for providing your children with health insurance – generally through his or her work plan. If this is not an option, your ex may need to reimburse you for the cost of covering them on your own health insurance policy.