Late child support payments can harm a credit score. It is an issue that affects residents in California and the rest of the country. According to a report released by NPR in 2015, there is over $113 billion worth of delinquent child support payments in the US.
In terms of credit, child support payments are treated like any other financial payments, such as a car loan or mortgage payment. Payments that are made on time can have a positive effect on a credit report. The reporting regulations regarding child support payments vary from state to state. In some states, a certain delinquency threshold must be met before the obligations are reported.
Paying child support payments directly to state agencies often means stricter regulations than those regulations for child support payments that are allowed to made directly to a child's other parent. State agencies that handle child support payments send delinquency letters when the payments are late, and some agencies allot only a certain amount of response time before they will report the missed child support obligations to credit bureaus. It is important to respond promptly to a delinquency letter.
If there are valid reasons for missing a payment, such as a reduction in income or the loss of employment, the court should be notified immediately. A lawyer might be able to file the correct paperwork to request that the obligation be paused or reduced. Taking no action can result in being still held liable for the payments and having the delinquency reported to the credit bureaus.
Child support delinquencies can result in judgements on a credit report. If there is a situation that is making it difficult to make child support payments on time, a family law attorney may help to submit the appropriate paperwork to the court to temporarily lessen the monthly obligation.