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Child support and qualifying for a mortgage

Buying a home is a goal for many families in Arizona. It is also common for parents ordered to pay child support to get behind during times of financial stress. Many people wonder if they will be able to buy a home if they are behind in child support payments.

Delinquent child support counts as a debt in a mortgage application. Not all mortgage lenders automatically disqualify applicants who owe back child support, but government loans may be more difficult to obtain for applicants with child support debt.

Mortgage lenders look at an applicant's overall credit score, the down payment the applicant can afford and their monthly debt-to-income ratio. Some applicants may be able to qualify with credit scores or a down payment that is lower than the acceptable average if they have enough savings to cover their mortgage for a few months in case of a change of income.

Applicants are ineligible for government loans such as FHA, VA or USDA programs if they owe back child support that qualifies as a "federal administrative offset." Parents who owe child support are notified if they are put in this program. The program allows the state to collect payments such as tax refunds to pay the outstanding child support obligation.

Non-payment of child support is a serious matter that can be punished as a crime. An attorney experienced in family law may be able to assist non-custodial parents who want to request a modification of their payments.

Child support payments are meant to be used for everyday expenses. Custodial parents are not required to spend all the payments only on the children, and costs for medical expenses not covered by health insurance may be split between the parties. A modification of child support payments will generally require a judicial review of the non-custodial parent's financial situation, a change in custody or an agreement with the custodial parent approved by a judge.

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