Welcome to the Florida Family Lawyer Blog

The posts in this blog focus on Florida family law issues including divorce , child custody/time-sharing , child support , mediation , domestic violence , parenting coordination , parenting rights of same-sex couples , and other family law topics. The posts discuss these topics under Florida law, and also focus on the family law local rules in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties.

I hope the information here is helpful for you.

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Different Ways To Receive Florida Child Support (Part II)

Continued from Part I. Some of the terms used in this post are described in Part I, and it will probably be easier to read Part I first. One of the advantages of having payments go through the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) or depository, is that it limits interaction with the other parent which some parties very much want. Also if payments are made through the SDU or local depository, it’s more “official” in the sense that the depository keeps track of what is paid and owed, so there is a government agency tracking that. If the child support is going through the SDU or depository and the payee doesn’t make the payments, the depository will take steps to generate a delinquency judgement against him or her – i.e. a court order that says the payee is delinquent and owes you the amount of the delinquency as “arrears”. Also, when payments go through the SDU or the depository, and the payee becomes delinquent, you can contact the depository and ask them to begin the process of cancelling the payee’s driver’s license if they don’t pay. Each of the enforcement tools described above is available whether you have payments go through the SDU or the local depository (but the local depository is the office that actually initiates these enforcement actions — the SDU is basically a State agency that handles receiving and disbursing child support funds). There are additional methods available to enforce child support either on your own, through a private attorney, or you can apply for services through Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement, to have the Department of Revenue enforce the order for you.

The first step if you want child support payments to go through the SDU or the local depository, or if there is an Income Deduction Order, is to set up you Child Support Account. You have to do that through the local Clerk of Court’s child support depository. You can find the contact information for the depository on the website for the clerk of court in your county. The following link will take you to the website for the Broward County Child Support depository. There is a link on this website to a page with the application form to set up your account and to set-up direct deposit, and other information and “FAQs”.

Unless you request otherwise and explain to the Judge why you believe it is in the child’s bests interest for payments to be made directly by one parent to another, rather than via an Income Deduction Order, the Judge will order payments through the SDU and enter an Income Deduction Order. If you and other parent, however, request “direct” payment, and give at least some reason why you want that and believe it is best, the Judge will most likely go along with want you want, so long as there isn’t something in the case that makes the Judge think that isn’t going to be a good idea. Even when the Court approves direct payment, Florida Statutes require the Judge to enter an order providing for Income Deduction, but the order can provide that Income Deduction is delayed and will not start or take effect, until until the payee is delinquent in his or her payments.

As far as the advantages and disadvantages of having child support come directly out of the payee’s paycheck via an Income Deduction Order — the basic advantage is that it’s a wage garnishment order — the funds come out of the paycheck and go to you — less worry about the money being paid. Some people are uncomfortable having their job involved, but Income Deduction Orders are fairly common these days. Some parents for various reasons prefer not to go this route, but it’s an option that’s there.