You can use child support income to qualify for a mortgage as long as the income meets certain requirements, as we outline below. Child support or alimony income can be added to any other income you receive from your job or other income sources to help you afford a higher mortgage amount.
For example, if you earn $5,000 in monthly gross income and receive $1,500 in regular monthly child support payments, the lenders uses $6,500 in total monthly income to determine the mortgage you qualify for. Using the higher monthly income enables you to afford a higher loan amount.
To include child support income in your mortgage application, the following conditions must be met:
You have received child support income for at least six months (three months for a VA loan) prior to submitting your loan application as confirmed by your bank statements, cancelled checks or other documentation
You must have received full payments for the prior six months on a regular basis. If the payments were partial or inconsistent, the child support income is not factored into your application.
You must verify that the child support payments are expected to continue for at least three years from the date you submit your application (from the anticipated closing date for a VA loan) by providing at least one of these documents:
A divorce or separation agreement that specifies the amount of the monthly child support payment and the duration of the payments
A written court order, decree or other legal document that outlines the child support payments
A summary of any state law that requires child support to be paid and confirmation that you meet the requirements according to the law
Please note that volunteer child support payments made by a former spouse that are not mandated by a legal agreement or law are not included in your mortgage application. Lenders need to verify that the income is steady and permanent and unfortunately volunteer payments do not meet this requirement.
Finally, the criteria above also applies to alimony payments. As long as you have received the payments for at least six months (three months for a VA mortgage) and you can document that they will continue for at least three years, then both child support and alimony can be included in your mortgage application and help you qualify for the loan.