In 1996 Congress enacted the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. That federal law requires that every state have a central collection and distribution location for all child support payments. In California that centralized location is called the State Disbursement Unit or SDU. The SDU credits the payments and issues the checks for all child support cases in California.
PAYMENTS ARE CREDITED AS OF THE DATE THE PAYMENT IS RECEIVED AT THE SDU. If the payment is not received by the SDU by the last day of the month, interest will accrue on the unpaid balance. ALL PAYMENTS MUST BE SENT DIRECTLY TO THE SDU.
The centralization of payment processing offers direct deposit of disbursements from the SDU and electronic transfer of payments to the SDU. The SDU has an electronic help desk to provide assistance to custodial parties, non-custodial parents, employers and other states using electronic processes to make or receive payments. For more information about electronic transfer of payments, please contact the SDU Electronic Help Desk at 1-(866) 901-3212 or visit the SDU website.
All child support payments must be sent to and disbursed by the SDU. This includes ALL payments currently paid by wage assignment and sent by employers directly to custodial parties (known as NON-IV-D cases, these are cases which are NOT currently open in a local child support office). Payments received by the SDU will be allocated between all of a non-custodial parent's obligations, which will include IV-D cases (cases open in a local child support office) as well as non-IV-D child support cases.
If a non-custodial parent has more than one child support case, any payment received may be divided among all the cases. How the payment is allocated between the cases depends on many things, such as whether or not the payment is for current support or for past-due child support, the amount of child support owed, the payment source, and the amount of the payment.