I'm not a mod. I really resisted commenting on this thread, as CS tends to be a topic that people tend to get really emotional about. (There tends to be a lot of stuff about what is "fair" and what isn't, and that's not helpful nor is it relevant information.) But I have had cases/enforcement in several states, so I do have some knowledge.
Here's the problem - child support enforcement is handled at the state level, and each state has their own set of rules about collecting and reporting. Each state calculates child support according to a set formula based on parent's incomes. When parents get behind, some states are quick to report, others seldom do, others only report judgements/public records. You're talking about 50 different methodologies that can change at any time based on policy changes and/or state funding of enforcement agencies. There's no hard-and-fast, across the board rule.
Generally speaking, though, from my experience: child support accounts that are current and paid are not detrimental to your score. Arrearages, however, can be, as can judgements. If there is a genuine reporting error, it can be incredibly difficult to fix. And based on the way most child support orders are written (as a monthly set amount), there's often genuine lack of knowledge about how this plays out in terms of credit reporting. Child support is not a revolving debt, nor is it an installment debt. It's usually a series of monthly debts, any one of which can trigger a negative on a credit report if missed. The best I can say is to use the same rule we've seen on this forum: never be late, never ever. That may not be possible in every case (and I have been there, believe me) but the court isn't going to care. Courtrooms operate based on laws, not on the feelings of litigants.
Although I am not a moderator, I have first hand account of what negative child support reportings can do to a loan decision. My DH had a child support order and he was never late, BUT because he was paid every two weeks and the child support order was for him to make weekly payments......he always showed up as late. We tried to get the the reporting agency to modify it and they said NO. Even Human Resources at his job tried to get this decision changed and they also were told NO! This has made him appear as a "DEAD BEAT DAD". Fast forward to us buying our first home together.....the loan officer would not approve him on the loan due to the "missed payments" even with documentation from my DH's job saying he was current with all payments requested. When we asked the reporting agency for such a statement they said NO!
Traveling to the present, it took two years after he fulfilled his child support order that it finally shows as current. It really didn't impact his score, but it did impact what the bank thought about his character and I think that hurt most of all. I hope this helps!
Heck yes it hurts your score.....badly. I am in WA state and although I did manage to get child support to report as current, they absolutely will not remove it
and it's killing my score. I am having a tough time reaching 640 to purchase a home. Good luck to you!
typically if its listed as an installment with a child support tradeline then no it doesnt affect your fico. however if its a judgement or listed as a collection then yes. HOWEVER like others have said even if it doesnt affect your fico the lates and the tradeline is what does.