Past-due child support and judgments ordering you to pay child support can both be reported on your credit report. These debts can increase your loan interest rates and reduce your chances of obtaining credit. Thus it's important to dispute child-support debt that is listed incorrectly on your credit report. You cannot have accurate information removed from your credit report, but debts older than seven years should fall off your report. If they are still listed, you can have them removed.
Contact the child-support enforcement agency in your state. The names of these agencies vary by state, but start by consulting the department of family and children's services or the department of human resources in your state. Provide them with any documentation indicating that the child-support debt is inaccurate. If they indicate that the information is indeed inaccurate, get a written statement from them. If the information is older than seven years, obtain a letter from the agency indicating the age of the debt.
Appeal the child-support amount if the child-support enforcement agency in your state cannot or will not help you. Each state has appeals procedures for child-support arrears. You may need to file an administrative appeal through the child-support enforcement agency, or you may need to appeal to the court in the county in which the original child-support order was issued. The child-support enforcement agency can tell you about the appeals process in your state. You may need to hire an attorney to maximize your chances for success in your appeal.
Order a copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus. You are permitted to obtain one free credit report each year. If you have already gotten a free report, you will need to pay for a report at the websites of Experian, Transunion and Equifax. Different bureaus may report slightly different information, and the child- support arrears may not appear on each bureau's report.
Fill out a dispute form on the website of each agency that is reporting the erroneous information. Provide any documentation you have from the child-support enforcement agency indicating that the debt does not exist or is too old to be reported. It can take up to 30 days to have the information removed from your credit report.
Tips & Warnings
Occasionally, credit reporting bureaus fail to remove inaccurate information even after a formal request. Keep all of your documentation and, if the information is still not removed, you may need to hire an attorney.
References & Resources
- Child Support: Law and Policy; Nicholas Wikeley
- Credit.com: Correcting Your Credit Report
- Federal Trade Commission: A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Annual Credit Report: Free Credit Report
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