Liens: Non Custodial Parent & Child Support

In San Diego, in many divorces, legal separations and paternity actions, there is a non custodial parent who pays child support by court order. In San Diego, all of the family law court houses including two in San Diego, one in Chula Vista, one in EI Cajon and one in Vista, have Judges who make orders regarding child support. In addition, the Department of Child Support Services [DCSS] has two court houses including one in San Diego and one in Vista. The non custodial parent, if the case is in either court houses, may have a lien or judgment placed against them if they are in arrear [past due] with any court ordered support payment.

It is much better for the non custodial parent who is paying child support not to have the child support enforced by the Department of Child Support Services. If a non custodial parent does not pay child support in a DCSS case, the State of California can suspend their driver's license or other professional licenses and also suspend the issuing or reissuing of passports. In addition, the DCSS enforcement can include not only garnishment of wages by assignment but also levy of bank accounts and interception of federal and state tax returns. Under California law, it is the unilateral decision of the custodial parent whether or not they want the State of California through the Department of Child Support Services to enforce their order.

If a non custodial parent has an open case with the Department of Child Support Services, a wage assignment is always issued. In addition, an Abstract/Notice of Support Judgment is automatically recorded against their name even if there are no arrear [past due] amounts owed. Local child support agencies are required to record an Abstract/Notice of Support Judgment on all child support orders which are enforceable. This Judgment must be recorded in the county or state of the non custodial parent's residence or employment or anywhere real property is owned. If a non custodial parent attempts to sell or refinance a property with a Judgment from DCSS, then the Judgment will cause a lien to be placed on this property. The lien will need to be released, even if no arrear is owed, in the escrow transaction. The phone number for the San Diego Lien Services Unit is 619-578-6922 and their facsimile number is 619-236-4406 however numbers often change.

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