In Texas, child support not timely paid constitutes an automatic judgment against the child support obligor (parent ordered to pay child support). The obligee (person to whom the child support is paid) may enforce the child support obligation in many different ways. One of the powerful tools for collection of past-due child support is the child support lien. Today’s blog will summarize what the child support lien is and how it is implemented.
The lien arises by operation of law against all real and personal property of an obligor for all amounts of child support owed, including interest. Texas law allows only one exemption – the obligor’s homestead. Other than the obligor’s homestead, all property owned or claimed by the obligor is subject to the lien, including furniture and personal belongings, retirement benefits, bank accounts and retirement benefits.
If child support is past due, the obligee contacts a family attorney, who prepares a Notice of Child Support Lien. The Notice shows the details of the obligation, the amount currently due and a proper description of the child support obligor and the property to which the lien will attach. The attorney then sends the Notice of Child Support Lien to whoever is in possession of property subject to the lien (for example, the bank at which the obligor has funds on deposit). The holder of the obligor’s money is then legally required to hold (freeze) the property until a Notice of Levy is received, requiring the holder to distribute the property to the obligee.
The significance of the child support lien cannot be overstated. It does not require a separate lawsuit for a Judge to determine whether to issue it – it is simply issued by an attorney representing the obligee without alerting the obligor. This avoids the obligor having opportunity to move and hide the property.
If you are owed past due child support, utilizing the child support lien is a powerful way to collect the child support that you deserve. Christiansen Law Firm has extensive experience collecting child support, and can assist you in your child support collection matter. Contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in San Antonio or Houston for additional information.