Texas law requires that child support payments be made through the state disbursement unit. Every order that includes child support payments will state that payments are to be made through the state disbursement unit. Unfortunately, I hear people all the time who are not following this provision of the order. It is all too common for one party to pay another directly for child support.
In theory, paying the other party directly may seem like a great idea. There is no lag time for the money to get through the disbursement unit and back to the recipient. There is no fee taken out by the state for administration. However, the risks involved with direct pay are significant.
If you choose to pay child support directly to the other party, there will be no outside party keeping a record of your payments. Someday, you could find yourself in court with the other party claiming you have not paid your child support. According to the Attorney General, that will be true. You could potentially have a paperwork nightmare trying to prove that each payment was made. Further, the other party could contend that the money you gave them was not for child support. For example, if you made a child support payment around the holidays, the recipient may claim it was a Christmas gift. The risk is simply too great that you will never get credit for the payments that were made. A small fee is well worth it to avoid the risk of an arrearage down the road or – even worse – jail time for failure to pay child support.