The non-custodial parent (possessory conservator) is generally required to pay child support to the custodial parent (managing conservator) for the benefit of the child(ren). Although this can take many forms, child support usually consists of monthly payments to the custodial parent.
The legislature, by statute, has adopted Child Support Guidelines. Basically, the amount of child support due is based upon a percentage (determined by the number of children) of the payor’s “net resources” (as defined in the Guidelines). For example, the guidelines require the payor to pay 20% of his/her “net resources” for one child, 25% for two children, etc. Most courts generally follow the guidelines, absent unusual circumstances.
Also, the Texas Family Code requires that, if the payor is a salaried employee, the payor’s child support (or a portion thereof) be withheld from payor’s wages by his/her employer and paid directly to the custodial parent. Although this can be waived, it rarely is.
Child support is usually ordered to be paid through the Texas State Disbursement Unit—an agency charged with recording child support payments, maintaining a record of all payments received and forwarding the payment to the child support recipient. A major reason this is done is that, if the payor fails to pay support as ordered, the agency has attorneys who will usually represent the payee, free of charge, in a future contempt hearing.
Other “child support” may also be required in the form of health insurance for the children, payment of non-covered medical expenses, etc.
Child support is due until the child turns eighteen years of age or until the child graduates from high school, whichever occurs last.