This post and Part II will focus on some of the nuts and bolts of setting up a child support account with the State once you have your child support order, and some of the different ways or options for receiving the payments. One issue to consider when you get your Broward County Child Support order, or order in another county in Florida, is the method you want to use for receiving the payments. You can receive the payments directly from the other parent, or have the other parent pay the support through the “State Disbursement Unit” (SDU) in Tallahassee or your local Clerk of Court Child Support Depository. Another decision is whether you want an “Income Deduction Order”.
First to explain some of the terms: The State Disbursement Unit (“SDU”) is an office/agency in Tallahassee which handles receiving and then disbursing child support payments, and the County Depository is an office in the county Clerk of Court that can perform that function also. Basically, the payee pays the child support to the SDU/Depository, and the SDU or local Depository then pays the support to you. If your case is a “Title IV D” case, i.e. if the Florida Department of Revenue is handling your case for you, then the proper “depository” is the SDU. The Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division can handle filing the court papers to get the initial child support order for you, and can represent you to enforce the order later on if the payee does not make the required payments. I’ll include further information in Part II of this post about applying for services through the Department of Revenue.
If the Department of Revenue is not handling your case, then you can set things up for the person paying to pay either through the SDU or the local Clerk of Court Depository. It’s a little confusing, but just part of the way the payment system has evolved over the years. One advantage of the payment going through the SDU for you if you are receiving the child support, is that you can set up direct deposit of child support you receive through the SDU, but not the local depository. One last term – an Income Deduction Order is a special type of court order which requires the payee’s employer to deduct the child support payments from the payee’s paycheck, and send the funds to the SDU.
Some people prefer to receive payments directly from the other parent, rather than having them go through a depository. There used to be a potential time-saving by setting things up that way – you didn’t have to wait the time for the payee to mail the check to the depository, and then get a check back in the mail, but now a payee can pay by having the funds come right out of their bank account by electronic funds transfer, and you can receive you funds by direct deposit – so that advantage is not really there anymore. There is a fee when the payment is made through the SDU, up to $5.25 per payment (no fee if the Department of Revenue is handling the case). Continued in Part II.