How Do I Repair My Credit Report Due to Child Support?

If you fall behind on child support payments, catch up as quickly as possible.
If you fall behind on child support payments, catch up as quickly as possible. (Image: Jim Larson/iStock/Getty Images)

State and federal laws are rather unforgiving when it comes to child support. Your state’s child support enforcement agency is legally obligated to report to the credit bureaus if you fall behind. Some states report your child support account even if you’re current, just as a credit card lender would. If you are in arrears, you may have to catch up if you want to repair your credit.

Negotiate with the Agency

Try negotiating with your state’s child support enforcement agency to keep the delinquency off your report. Most states require that you receive notice before your account is reported, so you can take steps to avoid it. Some enforcement agencies may agree not to report the delinquency if you enter into a payment plan to catch up. If your arrears already have been reported, your account should show as current when you catch up. This can help improve your credit score and make it easier for you to qualify for loans.

Avoid Collections

Many states have a rule that if you fall 180 days behind with your child support payments, your account is reported twice -- once as child support and the second time as a collections account. The good news is that the collection account should be removed from your report once you pay your past due balance.

Dispute the Debt

If you’re not in arrears, you can dispute the entry in your credit report. Contact the credit reporting agency directly -- it has an obligation to investigate your claim -- or contact your child support enforcement agency and take the matter up with it.

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