Do child support payments affect your credit rating?

If you’re committed to making child support payments, you’ll be pleased to hear that this won’t affect your credit score. If you fall behind, though, we've covered the consequences in this guide.

If you keep up with your child support payments, they won’t affect your credit score. They’ll only impact your ability to borrow through a prospective lender’s affordability checks – i.e. where it looks at your income ang outgoings to gauge what monthly repayment would be affordable for you.

If you fall behind on your child support payments a “liability order” could be issued by the courts. The government introduced this measure in 2015 to deter parents from falling too far behind on their payments to the Child Maintenance Service.

Will unpaid child support payments appear on my credit file?

The government pledged to share with credit reference agencies the child maintenance records of any parents who fall so deep into arrears that a liability order is issued.

If this happens to you, the liability order will appear on your credit file and could remain there for up to 7 years.

Will unpaid child support payments affect my ability to get a loan?

If you have been given a liability order, it will appear on your credit file and this will harm your credit score and therefore your ability to be approved for a loan or other financial products.

To some extent, you can offset the black mark that a liability order creates through sensible borrowing and you may find that some loans are still available to you.

However, your credit score and ability to access the best financial products will be much healthier if you avoid these liability orders.

If you’re able to keep up with your child support payments or only fall into slight arrears, this will have no impact on your credit score or your ability to get a loan.

  • Keep up with your child support payments
  • Seek advice from the MoneyHelper if you’re falling behind on these payments
  • Pay your liability order as soon as possible to avoid further penalties

Example: David's loan application and his credit score

David had been avoiding sending child maintenance payments for a significant amount of time and ignoring all communications from the Child Maintenance Service.
The Child Maintenance Service had no choice but to issue a liability order to the courts in order to reclaim these debts. This affected David's credit file and made it harder for him to access loans.

* This is a fictional, but realistic, example.

Bottom line

Even though some parents in the UK struggle to pay child maintenance, it’s not common for them to receive a liability order due to falling too far behind. But having such an order on your credit record can seriously harm your financial situation.

Finder survey: How important do Brits think it is to have a credit score?

Very important42.11%41.52%44.92%52.17%40.78%
Quite important39.06%43.27%38.14%34.16%34.95%
Not that important9.42%8.77%12.29%7.45%15.53%
Not important at all5.54%3.51%2.12%2.48%2.91%
I don't know what a credit score is3.88%2.92%2.54%3.73%5.83%
Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of 1032 Brits, December 2023
We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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