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Unpaid child support may result in a property lien

by | Nov 19, 2020 | Real Estate Law

If you own property in California, you are probably familiar with mechanics’ liens, tax liens and mortgage liens. You may not realize, though, unpaid child support may also result in a lien on your real property. This lien may affect your property sale.

California regulations require child support agencies to file liens when a property owner has an active support order. If you have an order and are trying to sell or refinance your property, the title company is likely to consult with applicable child support agencies to see how much you owe.

The title search

In real estate transactions, title searches are common. A child support lien may not appear during an initial search, though. Instead, buyers may have to wait until the final title search to see if the property has a child support lien. Regardless, you must address the lien at closing.

The closing process

Even though child support liens typically attach to parents instead of specific pieces of real proper, a lien may interfere with the closing process. If you are trying to sell property that has a child support lien, you may want to take the following steps:

  • Determine how much back child support you owe
  • Ask the title company about any payment demand it may have received from child support agencies
  • Develop a plan for paying past-due support

Your property sale

When you are not current with your child support obligations and decide to sell your property, you must use proceeds from the sale to satisfy the lien. That is, you must pay arrears. If you do not have enough cash to do so, the child support agency may modify and re-record the child support lien after you complete the sale.