What is the Illinois State Disbursement Unit?

Typically, when a court in the State of Illinois enters a child support order, payments are ordered to be sent to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit or to the Clerk of the County’s Circuit Court. The parties can enter into a written agreement that details alternative arrangements for the support payments, provided that the court approves the agreement.

The State Disbursement Unit (SDU) is the State’s child support payment processing center. The purpose of the SDU is to process all child support payments that it receives. The SDU tracks payments received and payments disbursed.

Sometimes a party is ordered to pay maintenance and child support. The SDU accepts payments for maintenance when the order also calls for child support payments. However, the SDU does not accept maintenance only payments. Likewise, the SDU will not process payments for other monies owed, such as payments for one’s attorney’s fees.

The party who is ordered to pay child support is often referred to as the “obligor” and the party receiving the support is then referred to as the “obligee.” Child support payments can be sent to the SDU directly by the obligor or by the obligor’s employer. Usually, an employer sends in payments by check or by an electronic funds transfer (EFT). An obligor is able to send payments to the SDU by check or money order. Once the SDU receives a payment from an obligor or the obligor’s employer, the SDU disburses the payment to the obligee within forty-eight (48) hours. An obligee can receive their payment by check or direct deposit.

When payments are sent through the SDU, both the obligor and the obligee can create online accounts to review the payment and disbursement history for their case. Having child support payments processed through the SDU is a helpful tool to keep track of payments received and disbursed. However, remember that the SDU’s purpose is not to account for child support arrearage amounts. This means that if you become delinquent in your child support payments the SDU will not be able to give you a breakdown of how much you owe as of a certain date. The only “accounting” the SDU can provide, simply shows the date payments were received, payment amounts, and disbursement dates.

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