If you are a parent going through a divorce, the way you care for your children could drastically change. Rather than living in the same house with them, it is possible that you may only have visitation rights. Or watch them on weekends.
One of the bigger changes you may have to endure is paying your ex child support so that he or she can afford to care for your children when you’re not around. How exactly do these payments work? Can you just hand cash to your ex or write them a check?
While there are ways to pay your ex directly, it’s not quite that simple. Florida has to keep records of parents who are paying child support, and has to take action on those who aren’t. So how do you pay child support after a divorce? What happens if you don’t?
Understanding Florida’s Child Support Payment Process
Payments Can Be Made Through the Florida State Disbursement Unit
A judge may order that child support payments begin during the divorce process or after the divorce has been finalized. The Florida Department of Revenue’s State Disbursement Unit (SDU) handles child support payments. This limits the amount of interaction between both parents, and can allow recipients to keep their information confidential.
Payments can be made:
- Utilizing money transfer services (if you want to pay in cash)
- By mail
When Does Your Ex Get the Money?
Once you submit a payment, it will take between 4-7 business days for the payment to be processed and sent to the other parent. The quickest way to get payments to parents is through a credit card or electronic check online.
Florida typically allows a “grace period” of a few days while the payment is processing, but parents who cannot get child support in on time may feel less stressed each month if they can quickly hand over child support through direct deposit.
If You Want to Pay Your Ex Directly
If the lag time is too much for you and your ex, it may be easier for both parties if one parent directly pays the other. This is a possibility, but you will have to make a formal request to a judge to allow this change.
This request can be made through the local Clerk of Court’s child support depository. Here you can set up an account and opt for a direct deposit process that sends money directly from one parent to another in a quick and efficient manner.
If you receive child support directly from another parent, you still have the option of alerting a judge when the other parent is not making payments on time (or at all). The judge will then enter an order for Income Deduction. This order will be enforced as if payments were going through the Florida Department of Revenue.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support
Whether you are paying your ex directly or online, your child support order is an order. If your payments are late, or not made at all, the state will send you a notice in the mail.
Eventually, Florida will withhold your income and use it to pay the other parent child support. Further penalties may include driver’s license suspension, business or professional license suspension, tax refund interception, and more.
If you are having trouble affording your child support payment, or if your ex isn’t paying the support you are entitled to, do not hesitate to reach out to a Florida family lawyer today.