Does Texas Have Rules for Spending Child Support?

At first, most people might assume that Texas has specific rules for how parents who receive child support spend these funds. The reality, however, is that there is no specific guidance from the state on how parents have to spend child support. As long as a child’s basic needs are met in the custodial parent’s household, that parent has a lot of discretion on how they spend child support payments.

What Does Child Support Cover in Texas?

The purpose of child support is to ensure that the noncustodial parent financially contributes to raising their child; therefore, child support should help to cover expenses related to a child’s basic needs. These needs include shelter, food, medical care, and education.

That said, custodial parents are under no obligation to spend child support funds in any specific manner. A custodial parent could roll child support funds into their household’s total income and spend it as they deem appropriate.

While this can be frustrating to parents who pay child support and are concerned about how it’s used, the government typically doesn’t get involved with how child support is used unless there is a compelling reason to look into the matter.

What If Child Support Isn’t Spent on the Child?

Child support doesn’t have to be directly spent on a child, but if their basic needs aren’t met, it can be a sign that the custodial parent isn’t prioritizing their child’s needs. In that case, the noncustodial parent could petition the court to review the child support and child custody orders to determine if a modification is in the child’s best interests.

The court could motivate the custodial parent to spend child support more carefully by requiring them to provide an accounting of how it’s used. Any anomalies could result in a reduction in child support received and even a change in how custody is shared between parents.


When the court issues a child support order, it doesn’t start off with accounting requirements. There are also no laws that legally require child support to be spent in any specific manner. Should the court have concerns about whether or not a child’s basic needs are met, however, it can impose accounting requirements and modify court orders to protect the child.

If you are dealing with a legal conflict involving child support, the best thing to do is consult with an experienced family law attorney. Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can provide you with the legal support you need to meet these challenges head-on.

For more information about how we can help, contact us today and request a consultation.