Divorced parents in California may wonder if child support payments can affect their credit reports. The short answer is "yes". Missing or delinquent child support payments can have a negative effect on credit scores, just as timely payments can potentially have a positive effect. The agency or municipality collecting the child support reports delinquent payments to credit bureaus.
Similar to a missing a mortgage, vehicle or credit card payment, delinquent child support payments can affect a person's ability to secure a loan or result in higher interest rates. Furthermore, child support debt can remain on a person's credit longer than the 7 years of a standard obligation. For instance, if left unpaid, missing child support could stay on the credit report until the child reaches adult age.
Many parents miss child support payments or are late because of the loss of a job or reduction in income. It is important in these instances for parents to contact the court immediately and petition for a reduction or pause in the child support obligation. Until a petition is filed, missing payments can continue to be reflected on a parent's credit record. In addition, if a parent receiving support sues for outstanding child support, and wins, this judgement can have an even more detrimental effect on the credit report of the parent who is required to make child support payments.
Child support obligations and credit scores can be a complex combination. Whether a parent is not receiving child support as ordered by a court, or a parent is facing the loss of a job and needs a temporary pause or modification of child support, an attorney might be able file petitions in the court system to help prevent debt.