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Paying Child Support by Paper Check


Published: February 6, 2013



DATE:  February 6, 2013


RE:  Paying Child Support by Paper Check

Dear International Colleague:

Some U.S. states have reported receiving child support payment checks issued by foreign jurisdictions that are payable to the custodial parent in the U.S. rather than to the state’s State Disbursement Unit (SDU).  U.S. federal law (42 U.S.C. 654b(a)(1)) requires all U.S. state child support programs to process payments on reciprocal child support cases through their SDU before disbursement to custodial parents.  If a state receives a payment check issued only to the custodial parent, the state may not be able to process the funds properly through its SDU.  In addition, the state may not be able to follow state currency conversion procedures or keep an accurate payment record. 

In order to ensure efficient and proper payment processing on international child support cases, U.S. states request that foreign jurisdictions that are sending payments by paper check please make the checks payable to the appropriate state SDU.  If the check must be payable to the custodial parent, please include the SDU as the co-payee.  For example, please make the check payable to “[custodial parent] and/or [the state SDU].” 

Sending payments electronically to state SDUs is another way to ensure payments arrive quickly and safely.  Please check with individual state agencies to determine their ability to receive international electronic payments.

If you have any questions about a particular international case with a U.S. state, please contact that state child support agency directly.  If you have general questions about this guidance or international case processing with the U.S., please email us at ocseinternational@acf.hhs.gov.

As always, we are grateful for your collaboration in our important work of supporting families. 


Vicki Turetsky
Office of Child Support Enforcement

cc: ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers
      State IV-D Directors

Last Reviewed: April 30, 2020

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