Bulletin: SC000011

Date:
November 12, 1997
To:
All South Carolina Issuing Agents
RE:
Recent Developments Regarding Liens

Dear Associates:

Child Support Arrearage Liens - New legislation effective June 10, 1997 provides that a child support obligation equal to or greater than $1,000.00 is a lien. (Section 20-7-1295) The lien incorporates any unpaid child support which may accrue in the future.

The lien is perfected by the filing of a notice thereof by the Department of Social Services in the RMC office. The legislation provides that the RMC must maintain a special index for these liens. Apparently, some RMC offices are not aware of the act and have not created a new index. Therefore, you should inquire with the RMC as to where the liens are being filed if there is not a separate index for these liens.

The lien expires upon the termination of a current child support obligation and payment in full of unpaid child support or upon release of lien by the DSS. In any event, the lien expires six years from the date of perfecting the lien (the filing date). The lien may be extended for additional periods of six years each by recording a further notice of lien in the fifth year of the lien. This means that, because of the potential of re-filing of the liens, it will eventually be necessary that parties in the chain be checked back for an indefinite period of time.

State Tax Liens - It has come to our attention that it is the position of the Department of Revenue that all tax liens filed after August 1, 1985 are valid for an indefinite period of time. Previously, it had been our position that state tax liens expire after ten years. This means that all owners in the chain of title since August 1, 1985 must be checked for state tax liens since that date.

Federal Judgments - Although the Federal Debt Collection Procedure Act is not new, it should be noted that judgments in favor of the United States entered on or after May 29, 1981 are valid for twenty years. A judgment lien in favor of the United States is one in favor of a federal corporation, agency, department or other entity of the United States. Therefore, all owners in the chain of title since May 29, 1981 should be checked for federal judgments which may have been filed since that date. (Federal judgments should not be confused with federal tax liens which are effective for a ten-year period)

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.