Child Support Payments through Florida's State Disbursement Unit (SDU)
The State Disbursement Unit (known as the “SDU”) is a processing center that receives and sends child support payments. It collects payments by electronic means, by mail (check or money order), or though automatic payroll deductions, and then pays electronically to a bank account to the individual receiving child support.
It is not mandatory that payments be made through the SDU, unless both parties agree to it and/or the judge finds it is in the best interest of the child. However, if a default in payments is alleged or proved by a party, a judge may then determine that payments be made through the SDU.
The SDU accepts the following payment methods:
• Credit card and electronic check
Payments can be made at MyFloridaCounty website and are processed in 3 and 5 business days.
• Bank checking or savings account
Payments are made at ExpertPay website. The website requires a registration process before the first payment, which takes about 3 business days. Then, the first payment takes about 11 days to reach the Child Support Program, and subsequent payments take about 8 days.
• Cashier checks and money orders
• Personal checks
Payments to the SDU can still be made by personal check, unless a previously submitted check had been returned for insufficient funds.
Payments can be sent through the Amscot and MoneyGram money transfer systems. They can take up to 4 days to reach the Child Support Program.
• Income deduction
In some circumstances, for example when the paying parent has a history of defaulting on payments, an income deduction order can be entered by the court.
The SDU may impose and collect a fee for its services. The required fee is not deductible from the support payment, and nonpayment is considered a delinquency.
All payments by the SDU are required to be made electronically. They can be a Direct Deposit into a designated checkings or savings account, or received through a Florida Debit Mastercard. The Florida Debit Mastercard is the default method when a Direct Deposit is not requested.
If payment is made by money order or cashier’s check, the SDU must pay to the obligee within 2 working days. If payment is made by personal check, the SDU must pay to the obligee within 4 working days
The parent who pays child support can get information at the Clerks of Court website and at the SDU Voice Response System, calling 1-877- 769-0251.
The parent who is owed child support can find the payment information depending on what method is used.
The SDU must maintain records of the obligor and obligee. The parties have to provide and notify of changes to the required information. The parent who pays must provide the following information: name, address, social security number, place of employment, and any other sources of income. The parent who is owed support must provide name, address and social security number.
Both parties must notify the Clerk and/or SDU of any change in name or address, and the paying parent must also notify of any change in employment or source of income. Notifications must be given in writing, and within 7 days of the change.
When a payor or obligor provides payment by check, they may also be required to complete a form with personal information that may be required by the State Attorney if prosecution of an insufficient check becomes necessary, and if this information is asked for and refused, the SDU may refuse to accept personal checks.
The SDU keeps records of the support amount and schedule, the receipt, disbursement and balance of the support, and any records required by federal reporting law.
There are systems in place for the payment of child support by methods other than direct payment between the parties. While this systems, through the SDU, may be voluntarily used by the parties; there are times that the parties are compelled to be used such by a judge.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nico Apfelbaum
Nico Apfelbaum, Esq. is the managing attorney of Apfelbaum Law, a Florida law firm serving Port St. Lucie, Stuart, the Treasure Coast and assisting clients with matters throughout Florida. Apfelbaum Law provides a wide variety of legal services, including, family law, divorces, business and contract transactions and litigation, immigration, wills and estate planning, probate law, and real estate law. The attorneys of Apfelbaum Law will answer your questions, explain your options, and provide you with the tools and resources you need to make an informed decision.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.