Reporting Child Support Arrearages to Credit Bureaus

In California, the Department of Child Support Services must maintain a system to report delinquencies of court-ordered child support obligations. One way it does so is by reporting the delinquencies to consumer credit agencies, such as credit bureaus.

Under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, Congress has mandated that consumer credit agencies include information regarding a consumer’s child support delinquencies in that consumer’s credit reports when that information is submitted by a government child support enforcement agency and the information is less than seven years old.

This information becomes a part of the delinquent consumer’s credit history and can be used in the same manner that any other information is used on the report. It can be used by creditors or lenders to deny credit to the consumer, or provide the credit but at a higher interest rate to the consumer. It can be used by property owners to determine whether the consumer would make a good tenant for rental property. It can be used by employers in determining whether to hire a prospective employee. The credit report can even be used by government agencies to determine the whereabouts of the consumer.

The child support delinquency information will remain on the consumer’s credit history report for seven years, unless the government agency providing the information agrees to have the information removed; something they rarely do.

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