Child support payments, whether ordered in a divorce decree or through a SAPCR for unmarried parents, are intended to cover a child’s needs until she turns 18 or graduates from high school. Even when child support payments are paid on time and parents generally agree about how to raise a child, there are often still questions about what, exactly, child support payments are intended to cover.

One grey area that parents frequently wonder about is academic tutoring. As research continues to come out about how lockdowns intended to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 have negatively impacted math and reading scores, parents are scrambling to find ways to help their children catch up. The cost of tutoring can leave parents reeling: Depending on the quality and experience of the tutor, some parents are asked to pay up to $100 an hour. This can result in thousands of extra dollars in costs over the school year and begs the question: Should child support cover tutoring? And, if so, can a child support order be modified to include a tutor’s costs?

What Does Child Support Cover in Texas?

Child support payments are meant to cover a child’s basic needs. This includes her medical and dental care, her housing, clothing, and food, and her educational needs. Activities that are considered extracurricular – such as sports, club activities, and summer camps – are generally not included in child support payments. They are seen as unnecessary extras, and, while parents can agree together to enroll a child in extracurricular activities, a parent cannot usually be required to pay for them with child support payments.

But is tutoring an extracurricular activity or an educational necessity? Most Texas judges will not require a parent to pay for an expensive hobby or sport. But if a child is demonstrably falling behind in academic performance, a parent may be able to successfully argue to a court that tutoring is essential to a child’s wellbeing and that the child support order should be modified to make both parents responsible for contributing to the cost of tutoring.

If your spouse is reasonable and you are both politely engaged in pursuing a child’s best interests, you may not even need to go to court. You could privately negotiate a new child support arrangement and then submit it to the court for approval. Whichever route you choose to take, an experienced child support attorney can help.

Contact a Dallas, Texas Child Support Modification Lawyer

When the needs of your child change, it is important to reflect these changes in your child support payments so you are not saddled with the full financial burden of those needs. For help petitioning a court to modify your child support payments, call the offices of Clark Law Group at 469-717-6514 and schedule a comprehensive consultation with our experienced Fort Worth child support modification attorneys.

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