There is no denying it — kids are expensive. From yearly school supplies to new clothes to fees for extracurricular activities, the cost of raising a child in Texas can sometimes seem astronomical. Child support is an essential tool for parents who are divorced or are raising their child without the help of the other parent. However, exactly which parent qualifies for support payments is not always clear.

In the vast majority of cases, the parent with primary custody is eligible for child support. In cases where parents have divorced and established a custody arrangement, it is obvious who the custodial parent is, but it can be less clear for parents who were never married. In such cases, courts will consider who the child lives with and which parent takes on the majority of parenting tasks.

Joint custody situations can be somewhat trickier, as children spend roughly equal amounts of time with both parents. Income will usually play a role in determining who receives support and who pays. If one parent stayed at home while the other worked, the latter will probably end up paying child support to his or her ex.

Unfortunately, child support payments are sometimes viewed as a punishment rather than what they are — financial support for the raising of one’s child. This mindset can make things complicated for custodial parents in Texas, particularly if they are in the process of seeking support. However, when going before a family law judge, parents in this situation are usually successful at achieving a favorable outcome.