The local Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office will be responsible for:
- initially setting up the child support case
- maintaining a written record of all court hearings
- tracking payment history
- maintaining records on arrearages.
A copy of the payment history can be obtained in the Family Law Department of the Clerk’s Office. Child support related forms approved by the Florida Bar are also available for purchase. Some are available online from the Florida Courts Website. All written requests for information are processed in the Family Law Department, and requests should be forwarded to Attn: Child Support, Washington County Clerk of Court, 1293 Suite 151 Jackson Avenue, Chipley, FL 32428. Service charges established by Florida Statutes may be applicable to requested information.
If you have a change in name or address or any other personal information which may affect your child support payments or the child support record, you are responsible for notifying the Clerk’s Office. Your changes should be put in writing, signed and mailed with proof of the name change to:
The Clerk of the Circuit Court
Attn: Child Support
Post Office Box 647
Chipley, FL 32428
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What determines the amount of child support ordered by the court?
A: Child support is defined as money paid from one parent to the other for the benefit of their dependent or minor child(ren). (Family Law Rules, Florida Rules of Court 2000) In Florida, the amount of child support is governed by the guidelines established by Florida Statutes.
A Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, available from the State Court’s Website or in the Clerk’s Office as part of a pro se package of forms, will show you and the court how the facts you relate to Florida’s Child Support Law. The worksheet is based on monthly income and debt.
The child support guidelines establish the basic child support obligation for parents whose combined net income is between $7,800 and $120,000 annually. If the parents’ combined income is more than $120,000 annually, a formula is provided for the court to establish support beyond the guidelines amount. If the combined parents’ income is below $7,800, the court determines the amount of support on a case-by-case basis.
THE CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES ARE BASED ON:
The child support guidelines dollar amount is based on the number of children and the combined income of the parents. The child support obligation is divided between the parents in direct proportion to their income or earning capacity. The parent 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 dollar amount by up to 5% (five percent). The child support guidelines dollar amount may be increased or decreased by more than 5% (five percent) if the court agrees with written reasons given for the change.
Q: Can the child support amount ever change?
A: Yes, child support can be modified by the court if there is a substantial change in the circumstances of the family. If there is a change of 15% (fifteen percent) or $50.00 (fifty dollars), whichever is greater, in the child support guidelines, that may be reason for modifying child support.
Q: Will the child support payments be paid directly to the custodial parent?
A: After the court has decided the dollar amount of the child support to be paid, a decision will be made by the court as to whether payments should be made directly to you or collected and disbursed to you through the State of Florida Disbursement Unit (FLSDU). The court will also order how the child support payments are to be made – through an Income Deduction Order (IDO) or direct to you.
According to Florida Statute 61.13, if the parties elect not to require that support payments be made through the depository, any party may subsequently file an affidavit with the depository alleging a default in payment of child support and stating that the party wishes to require that payments be made through the depository. The party shall provide copies of the affidavit to the court and to each other party. Fifteen days after receipt of the affidavit, the depository shall notify both parties that future payments shall be paid through the depository.
Q: What enforcement is available through the Clerk of the Court?
A: The Clerk of the Court can enforce child support in the following ways:
Notice of Delinquency resulting in Judgment by Operation of Law: Fifteen (15) days after a case becomes delinquent according to S.61.14(6)(a)1, the clerk sends the obligor (also referred to as “payor” or “respondent”) a notice of delinquency to the address of record. The obligor has fifteen (15) days to make payment in full or file a motion to contest.
- Payment in full must include fees listed on notice.
- Motion to Contest. Upon receipt of a Motion to Contest, the clerk will schedule a hearing and send out notices for the hearing date and time to the obligor and obligee (also referred to as “payee” or “petitioner”). After the hearing an order is issued concerning delinquency.
- If payment or motion is not received within the fifteen (15) days, a Judgment by Operation of Law is filed. This will cause the support records to accrue interest on arrears balances. Interest is established at the rate for that year by the Florida Department of Financial Services (Office of the Chief Financial Officer of Florida).
Driver’s License Suspension for Child Support Only and Non-IV-D Cases (only for cases not enforced by the Department of Revenue Child Support).
- Upon written request from the obligee, the clerk will verify delinquency on account and send a Notice of Intent to Suspend to the obligor. Notice is sent by regular mail that is posted to the obligor’s last address of record with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as provided under S.61.13016FS and S.322.245.
- The obligor may do one of the following:
- Make the payment of delinquency in full to the Clerk of Court, only if ordered by judge.
- Enter into a written agreement with the obligee and provide the signed, written agreement to the clerk for filing.
- File a motion/petition to contest the delinquency. In receipt of the motion and a $32.00 fee, the clerk will schedule a hearing and send notice of the hearing date and time to both parties.
Q: I have made payments direct to the petitioner, how can I obtain a credit on my support account?
A: When motion/unsigned order is received by clerk, the documents will be forwarded to the judge assigned to your case for review.
STATE OF FLORIDA DISBURSEMENT UNIT
The State of Florida Disbursement Unit (FLSDU) was established by the Title IV-D Agency to provide one central address for the collection and disbursement of child support payments in cases enforced by the Department of Revenue pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. Support orders initially issued in Florida after January 1, 1994, in which the obligor’s child support is being paid through an Income Deduction Order (IDO), are also collected and disbursed by the FLSDU. The Clerk of the Circuit Court for Washington County has contracted with the FLSDU to process all court ordered child support and alimony payments.
CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS HAVE TO BE PAID THROUGH THE FLSDU, SHOULD BE SENT TO:
State of Florida Disbursement Unit
Post Office Box 8500
Tallahassee, FL 32314-8500
The payment to the State of Florida Disbursement Unit should include:
- Your full name (first, middle and last)
- Your Social Security Number
- the case number
- the county code for the county where the court order was entered.
The county code for Washington County is “67”.
FLSDU DISBURSES CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENT
The FLSDU is required to disburse child support payments within 48 hours of receipt. If the court has ordered child support payments to be paid through the FLSDU directly to you, you may wish to expedite receipt of the payment through the use of DIRECT DEPOSIT.
TO FIND OUT IF THE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENT HAS BEEN RECEIVED OR SENT OUT BY THE FLSDU:
Click here to view your most recent payment or you may call toll-free (877) 769-0251, 24 hours-a-day to find out if a payment has been received or disbursed by the FLSDU. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and case number. If you are a payor, the voice response unit provides information on the last payment received. If you are a payee, the voice response unit provides information on the last payment issued to you. Be sure to have the case number when calling this number.