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Falling behind on child support can damage credit ratings

A job loss or other drop in income for a person in California could result in that person missing child support payments. In addition to the problems that this could cause for the children, the parent will need to consider the possible impact on his or her credit rating.

State or local agencies that oversee child support payments can report any missed payments to credit bureaus. Late payments could also lower a person's credit rating. If the agency sends the person a delinquency letter, the person should read it carefully. A window of opportunity may be open for the person to catch up on payments and prevent the agency from reporting the problem. Usually, only a short amount of time is available for making late payments , and a person should respond quickly.

If a person does not attend to missed payments, their presence can persist on a credit report for a long time. The director of public education at Experian explained that unpaid child support obligations might renew every month, which constantly pushes forward the time when they might be dropped from a credit report. Unlike the typical 7-year expiration on unpaid debts, child support can remain as an active entry on a credit report until the child attains the age of majority.

When a person anticipates that meeting payment obligations might be impossible due to a change in financial circumstances, the person could seek a child support modification. An attorney could assist the person with court filings. The attorney might be able to document the change in the person's income and propose a new calculation for support payments. If a family court approves, then the person might have the ability to catch up on payments.

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