Monday, January 14, 2013

Where does My Child Support Go?

I'm often asked can I ask for receipts for where my child support is spent?

The Judges in Harris County will not order the parent that receives child support to show that pays child support to produce receipts.

I was asked this question so many times that I discussed this matter with a judge many years ago in his chambers.  Judge have told me that child support is used for:

Rent and/or mortgage (the "roof over the child's head")
Gasoline for the vehicle they are driven in
Clothes & under garments
Food & food at restaurants
Utilities (air-conditioning/heat, water, cable, phone & internet)
Children's school supplies
Soap & shampoo
Birthday parties

So if your child(ren) are eating, have clothes on their back, attending school and have a place to live then that is where your child support is going.

During the summer when you have the children for your month long visit, the parent with primary custody, still has to pay for utilities and rent in the place where the children live, so therefore your child support continues for 12 months of the year.

Also, many non-custodial parents do not take their child for the full 30 days, and the Texas Legislature voted not to cancel the child support for one 30 day period.  So if you have an issue with paying child support during the 30 day period in the summer, you need to take this matter up with the Texas Legislature and not your spouse or the judge that ordered it.  It is policy of the State of Texas to order child support for 12 months of the year.

Many non-custodial custodial parents are upset that the other parent spends money on nails, booze, partying, fancy automobile, cell phone, cruises, gambling, etc.  The problem is that is the children are eating and if they have clothes on their backs (even if are "ill fit") the children are not starving or naked,, they are receiving adequate care even though it might not be the level of care that you think that they should be receiving.

If there is a serious problem that rises to the level of an emergency, then under Texas law the school teachers or medical service providers are required to notify CPS of any neglect or abuse and the children will be removed from their current home.

Also Texas law provides that on an annual basis, you can come to court and ask the Judge to review the custody arrangement.  The burden of proof is on you to show the Judge that the children should be removed from their current home and their lives disrupted.  This burden of proof is difficult to prove and often expensive.


  1. Certainly one of the most emotionally charged aspects of your divorce concerns your child or children. Tragically, children all too often get caught in the cross-fire of divorcing parents, when what should be ultimately important to everyone concerned is the welfare of the child.
    Child Support Attorney Long Island, NY

  2. Thanks Layne.

    Often parents cannot agree on what is "appropriate" clothing and food. Of course, if they agreed on such things -- then they would probably still be married.

    Judges don't like to have to make "medical" decisions regarding appropriate food and medical care. Therefore, it is up to the parent claiming neglect to have a medical doctor, with appropriate credentials, willing to testify in court that the child is "neglected" or significantly under-weight. Due to the fear of being sued, many doctors fear testifying in court about this. It is a difficult burden for the parent claiming neglect to over-come. It is expensive and time consuming to prove in a court case. It can be done -- but it is very difficult to do.