According to NPR, Americans owed over $113 billion in child support in 2015. Typically, child support debt is reported to credit agencies by the agency responsible for collecting the debt. Therefore, failing to pay could have consequences for an individual's credit report and score. This also means that paying child support on time could improve an individual's credit situation.
The exact impact of missed payments depends on state laws. For some, a late payment is only reported to credit agencies if they hit a days late or amount owed threshold. This means that there may be some leeway for those who miss a payment to take action. It is important to note that a missed or late child support payment may have the same impact as missing a credit card or mortgage payment.
Those who are having trouble paying his or her child support may be able to request a modification. While missed or late payments stay on a parent's credit report until the child reaches adult age, they will be noted as satisfied on that report once the amount is paid.
Anyone who is in a child support or child custody dispute may wish to talk with an attorney. While some believe that providing food, clothing or shelter for a child makes up for support owed, this may not be the case. Legal counsel may be able to help individuals obtain a support modification or pause support payments after a job loss or any other change in income. This may prevent a parent from ruining his or her credit or facing legal consequences.