Preserving Families

And Protecting Assets

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Can parents comingle child support with household funds?

When Texas parents file for divorce, they must think ahead to determine how they will provide for the financial needs of their children, once they themselves part ways. In addition to basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, children have numerous other financial needs as well. To avoid confusion or disputes between parents, it is a good idea to seek clarification regarding state child support guidelines — in particular, recommendationsregarding how payments may be used.

Many parents wonder, for instance, whether they must keep child support payments separated from regular household funds. Questions also often arise as to whether a co-parent’s financial supplements must only be used for certain things. It is worth noting that every state has its own guidelines, which are recommendations to the court, not regulations; decisions regarding custody and support are made at the court’s discretion, which means a judge may or may not apply a specific recommendation included in the state’s guidelines.

A custodial parent also may use his or her discretion regarding child support

It is not necessarily unlawful for a parent to comingle child support payments with other household funds. A custodial parent does not have to seek a co-parent’s permission or approval to use child support payments in any way. In fact, he or she does not even have to inform the other parent as to how such payments are being used in post-divorce care and provision for their children.

What types of expenses can child support payments cover?

Many Texas parents use child support payments to cover certain educational expenses. It is also acceptable to use payments to cover transportation costs for children traveling back and forth between two households. If a parent is unsure whether it is permissible to use child support for a particular expense or suspects that child support payments are not being used appropriately because children appear to be neglected, such matters may be brought to the court’s attention to help resolve a specific issue.