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Frequently Asked Questions For Child Support Program

Welcome to the questions and answers area.
We have a large database of FAQs so we have organized them by topic. For frequently asked questions related to a specific topic, select it from the list below.


Who is my Case Manager and how can I contact him/her?
Case managers are available to meet with you Monday through Friday from 8:30am - 4:30pm. We are located at 1115 Manatee Avenue West, 2nd floor, Bradenton, Florida. 34205.
Why do I need to get Paternity established for my child?
Establishing paternity will give your child the same rights and benefits as children born to married parents. These rights and benefits include:

· Legal proof of each parent’s identity

· Information of family medical history in case of inherited health problems

· The child will know the identity of both of his or her parents

· The father’s name on the birth certificate.

· Medical or life insurance from either parent (if available)

· Financial support from both parents, including child support, Social Security, veteran benefits and military allotments (if available), and inheritance rights.

If we are not sure who the father is, how can we find out?
As long as there is no legal father involved, either party can request a DNA test. This test will either exclude the person named as the father of the child, or give us a probability percentage of him being the father. The primary collection method in the state of Florida is called "buccal swab" test. Buccal swab eliminates the need to have blood drawn because a sample is taken by rubbing the inside of the mouth with a cotton swab. Collection of a sample can be obtained from adults as well as newborns and is much less intrusive than drawing blood. There may be instances where a blood draw for DNA testing may be necessary but, for most cases, buccal swab will be the method used. The type of test conducted at each laboratory is DNA testing. The total costs for DNA testing are initially paid by the Department of Revenue. The costs for genetic testing will be assessed against and recovered from the alleged father if he is found to be the biological parent through genetic testing.
Where do I send my child support payment?
All payments must be made through the Florida State Disbursement Unit (FLSDU) at the following address:


P.O. Box 8500

Tallahassee, FL 32314-8500.

To ensure proper credit, make sure the following information is on your check or money order: your full name, your social security number, your case number, and the words "Manatee County." If you do not know your case number, call the Clerk's office at 941-741-4038 to obtain that information. If you fail to include all of the above information, your payment may not be properly credited to your account, particularly if you have multiple cases.

 Payments can also be made online at

How do I find out if a child support payment has been made?

By Phone: Whether you pay or receive child support, you can check on payments by calling the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) toll free at 1-877-769-0251, SDU Customer Service is open Monday - Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, if you need to speak to a customer service representative.

Online: Your payments can be viewed online at Your court case number and social security number are required.

What can you do when a Non-Custodial Parent does not pay the court-ordered child support?
Various types of actions can be initiated. These include administrative actions such as Drivers’ License Suspension, Income Deduction Orders, Reporting the child support debt to Credit Bureaus which may affect the obligor’s credit rating, Judgments and/or Liens and delinquency notices. Another type of action is a Legal action, such as a Civil Contempt Hearing.
Why doesn’t the court incarcerate non-paying parents?
The purpose of civil contempt is to encourage compliance with the order. It takes an order from the judge to incarcerate a non-custodial parent for failure to pay child support. Based on the laws, certain factors must be proven for a judge to order incarceration.
How do I report a change of address or employment on my child support case?

The most efficient way to report an address or employer change is by submitting the information online. 

Visit Child Support E Services online to report changes in your information. 

Why does it take so long to get my child support check when it comes directly out of the non-custodial parent’s paycheck?
The payment must be mailed from the employer to the State of Florida Disbursement Unit (SDU) in Tallahassee. Payments received at the SDU are remitted to the recipient the following business day. If a payment is made at the local Clerk’s Office, it must be transmitted to the SDU and, therefore, the payment is remitted to the recipient the second business day.
What do I do to request a change in my child support obligation?
A Florida court order for child support may be modified if it has been at least 3 years since the previous order was entered or there has been a significant change in circumstances that warrants a review. The statutory support guidelines (Section 61.30, Florida Statutes) will be used to determine if a substantial change in circumstances justifies the court's revision of the previously ordered amount. To petition the court for modification when the previous order was entered less than three years ago, the difference between the current child support amount and the proposed amount using current information and statutory guidelines must be at least 15% or $50 (whichever amount is greater). You may request a review to see if a modification is warranted. At a minimum, you will need to provide a notarized statement outlining the increased needs for your child(ren) or the other changes which support your request. In addition, we will ask you to complete a financial affidavit with three years of supporting documentation for your income. A case manager will then review the case and make a determination as to whether a modification is warranted. If so, the Case Manager will refer your case to the CSE Legal Staff. Modification is much like the original proceeding you went through to establish a support order. A petition will be filed. Any change in the amount of child support can only be retroactive to the date the petition was filed in the court file.
How is the amount of child support determined?
The amount of child support is determined by a formula created by the Legislature, which can be found in Florida Statutes, section 61.30 . The child support guidelines amount is based on the number of children and combined income of the parents. The formula also takes into consideration the cost of childcare and medical insurance. The child support obligation is divided between the parents in direct proportion to their income or earning capacity. The parent or other person with whom the child lives most of the time (the custodial parent) is paid the established support by the other (non-custodial) parent. The court, at its discretion, may increase or decrease the guidelines amount by up to 5%. The guidelines support amount may be increased or decreased by more than 5% if written reasons are given for the change by the court.
What if my child is going to turn 18, but is still in high school?
You should read your court order first. If there is not specific language in the court order requiring support to continue until the child graduates from high school, you should contact a Case Manager. It may be possible to file a Supplemental Petition to modify child support to extend support until graduation from high school if the child is in high school, progressing in good faith with a reasonable expectation of graduation before he/she reaches age 19. To ensure timely filing, ideally, it is best to begin this action at the beginning of the school year when your child will turn 18.