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When Can Washington Child Support Enforcement Assert a Lien?


A parent in Washington State who has failed to adhere to an order to support a child can face numerous penalties as a means of child support enforcement. When there are delinquent payments, the state will take steps to make certain the child is provided for. One such tactic that can be used is the assertion of a lien on personal or real property.

If a payment is past due, liens can be asserted. The time frame for this depends on the applicable laws. The action can commence: twenty-one days after the notice of support was made; twenty-one days after the notice has been served and financial responsibility was found; twenty-one days after the notice was served that there was a finding of parental responsibility; and twenty-one days after the amount owed was determined.

If a parent is located in another state, the Division of Child Support has the ability to utilize uniform interstate lien forms that the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States has adopted to place liens on real and personal property if it is in a different state. If the support debt is not paid when it is ordered to have been paid, the lien will take on the priority of that of a secured creditor. All real and personal property will be attached to the lien.

If there is a lien, the property cannot be sold, paid over, released or dispatched in any other way except in certain legal circumstances unless there was a written release or waiver from the Secretary of State of Washington and it was signed and delivered to those who are seeking to sell it. This can also be done if the support lien has been released under the law or through a superior court order based on the debt having been paid.

When a parent is owed support payments or the paying parent has failed to do so, there are many different options that the state can use to get the payments current or to try and force the supporting parent to catch up on the delinquent payments. Whether a parent is unable to pay or is not receiving the payments, speaking to a legal professional experienced in child support modifications and any other issue related to child support is important to avoid having liens placed on property to recover payments.

Source:, “RCW 74.20A.060 — Assertion of lien — Effect,” accessed on Dec. 1, 2015


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Mark D. Hodgson

Mark D. Hodgson

Mark D. Hodgson and his legal team at Hodgson Law Office provide exceptional, personalized representation in family law and divorce cases. With a commitment to trust, integrity, and vigorous advocacy, Hodgson Law Office offers reliable and compassionate legal assistance for all your family law issues.

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