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Child support

childcare expenses

Child support is generally intended to help with the costs of raising the child—including food, clothing, shelter, and education—but laws vary from state to state and are often unclear on the extent to which child support payments are intended to help the custodial parent pay for half of school supplies, health care, braces, glasses, dental care, uninsured medical care, transportation (car), daycare, sports camps, cheerleading camps, school trips, social activities, and extracurricular activities.

Most state laws (statutes) don’t identify the specific child-rearing costs to which the custodial parent is required to contribute payment from child support and other resources—and because these issues are frequently the source of parental conflict, parents should identify all expected future costs and agree to the process for sharing them.

Childcare expenses incurred by the custodial parent are generally not required to be paid by the noncustodial parent in addition to child support—unless the childcare is required for the custodial parent’s work, training, or school—in which case the noncustodial parent may be required to pay for 50% of the childcare, for example.

In Texas, child support is designed to cover a child's basic needs, which include food, clothing, shelter, and education. The Texas Family Code provides guidelines for calculating child support payments, which take into account the income of the noncustodial parent and the number of children being supported. While the law sets out the general framework for child support, it does not itemize specific child-rearing expenses such as school supplies, health care, braces, glasses, dental care, uninsured medical care, transportation, daycare, and extracurricular activities. These costs are often addressed during the child support order process or through additional agreements between the parents. Childcare expenses necessary for the custodial parent to work, train, or attend school can be factored into the child support order, and the noncustodial parent may be required to pay a portion of these costs, which could be up to 50%. Parents are encouraged to communicate and reach an agreement on how to handle the sharing of these additional expenses to avoid conflicts.

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