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How Can You Receive Child Support Payments in Florida?


After resolving a divorce with children, the final order may include a child support award. Typically, the order specifies the manner in which one parent will make support payments to their former spouse. However, in some cases, the parties can decide how the supported parent will receive child support payments.

If your final order does not specify how you will receive child support payments, the other parent may make direct payments in the form of:

  • Cash;
  • A check;
  • Money order; or
  • Direct deposit.

Receiving Direct Payments from the Obligor Parent

While the biggest advantage of receiving direct payments is that you will be able to receive them faster, there are certain disadvantages to consider. If your partner makes direct payments, there will be no third party requiring and monitoring those payments on a monthly basis.

Thus, when you receive child support through any of the above-mentioned forms of direct payments, you will have to handle any late payments or other disputes all by yourself. This could take a toll on your co-parenting.

Also, it would be a good idea to keep a record of all the child support payments made by the other parent. This would be useful in the event of any dispute regarding child support. Often, parents who were initially ordered to receive direct payments are able to ask the court to require the other parent to pay via a third party.

Receiving Child Support Payments via a Third Party

In Florida, the State Disbursement Unit is the third party that handles child support payments. The State Disbursement Unit, which is a branch of the Florida Department of Revenue, is processing child support payments made by an obligor parent before sending them to the supported parent.

In Florida, an obligor parent can make child support payments to the State Disbursement Unit in several ways:

  1. Through a credit card or bank account;
  2. By mail through cash, a check, or money order; or
  3. Through income deduction from the obligor parent’s employer (wage garnishment).

After receiving a child support payment from the obligor parent, the State Disbursement Unit will send the payment to you through direct deposit:

  • Onto smiOne Visa Prepaid Card; or
  • Into your bank account (checking or savings account).

Failure to give the State Disbursement Unit your bank account information will prompt the Unit to deposit your payments onto smiOne Visa Prepaid Card.

Under Florida law, divorced parents are required to make and receive child support payments through direct deposit in one of the two above-mentioned ways. Another advantage of having a third party process your child support payments is that they will keep all records of the payments. Also, a third party imposes strict deadlines for child support payments.

Regardless of whether the obligor parent is making direct payments to you or your child support payments are being handled by the State Disbursement Unit, all of those payments must be paid in full and in a timely manner. If your former spouse has defaulted, do not hesitate to contact an Orlando child support attorney for a consultation.

Call our lawyers at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee to discuss your situation. Call at 407-521-7171 to get a case review.


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