I read an interesting article by Natalie Gregg in Huff Post What Child Support Does Not Cover. It is an all-too-common complaint by the parent paying child support that the other parent “spends the money on him/herself”. Many paying parents want to put restrictions on what child support can be spent on, to prevent the other parent from personally using the money. While it may seem like child support is being mismanaged to some – and maybe in some cases it is being mismanaged — Texas law does not support placing restrictions on how child support is spent. Judges do not want to micro-manage child support expenditures. That would simply take too much time. Instead, child support goes “into the pot” so to speak. Child support obviously covers the child’s direct expenditures, such as clothing, food, and daycare. But, it also goes to cover a portion of the house the child lives in and the car the parent drives the child around in.
Child support may not actually cover the “extras” for the child, like dance lessons and tutoring. As a child gets older, she points out, the expenses grow into items like cars and car insurance. Further, Texas law has no provision for a child’s college expenses, so either a parent has to save for that, or the child will have to bear those costs on his or her own.
Ms. Gregg makes a good point that, when faced with a daughter who wants a new prom dress, a dad isn’t (or shouldn’t) say “that’s what I pay your mom child support for”. Sometimes children, like a lot of things in life, cost more than you anticipate.