3.12 Child Support Judgments

3.12.1

In General

Texas statutes provide for monthly payments to support the children of the marriage.

The following issues must be addressed when reviewing a child support lien or divorce decree or settlement agreement:

  • The entering of a child support order does not create a lien on the obligor's property.
  • §157.312 Family Code creates a lien on real property.
  • This lien has super priority except over purchase money.  See §157.320 of the Family Code. 
  • A child support lien must be filed in each county where the debtor owns property.
  • Has the support judgment been assigned to any state, county, or municipal agency?

Courts can also enter child support orders for children of unmarried couples.

The statute of limitations on  a child support lien is indefinite.  A new lien must be filed in the case of additional delinquencies

Family Code Section 157.318 (d) provides that

(d)  A lien is effective with respect to real property until the 10th anniversary of the date on which the lien notice was filed with the county clerk.  A lien subject to the limitation prescribed by this subsection may be renewed for subsequent 10-year periods by filing a renewed lien notice in the same manner as the original lien notice.  For purposes of establishing priority, a renewed lien notice filed before the applicable 10th anniversary relates back to the date the original lien notice was filed.  A renewed lien notice filed on or after the applicable 10th anniversary has priority over any other lien recorded with respect to the real property only on the basis of the date the renewed lien notice is filed.

This 10 year limitations period applies only to child support liens that are filed after September 1, 2009.  Child support liens filed prior to that date have no limitations period.

3.12.2

Child Support

In 2007, legislation was passed amending Texas child support laws to limit person licensed by the State from renewing licenses when they are subject to child support liens. 

Sec. 157.324. Liability for Failure to Comply With Order or Lien. A person who knowingly disposes of property subject to a child support lien or who, after a foreclosure hearing, fails to surrender on demand nonexempt personal property as directed by a court under this is liable to the claimant in an amount equal to the value of the property disposed of or not surrendered, not to exceed the amount of the child support arrearages for which the lien or foreclosure judgment was issued.

Sec. 232.0135. Denial of License Renewal.

(a) A child support agency, as defined by Section 101.004, may provide notice to a licensing authority concerning an obligor who has failed to pay child support for six months or more that requests the authority to refuse to accept an application for renewal of the license of the obligor.

(b) A licensing authority that receives the information described by Subsection (a) shall refuse to accept an application for renewal of the license of the obligor until the authority is notified by the child support agency that the obligor has:

(1) paid all child support arrearages;

(2) established with the agency a satisfactory repayment schedule or is in compliance with a court order for payment of the arrearages;

(3) been granted an exemption from this subsection as part of a court-supervised plan to improve the obligor's earnings and child support payments; or

(4) successfully contested the denial of renewal of license under Subsection (d).

SECTION 28. Subsection (a-1), Section 157.317, Family Code, is amended to read as follows:

(a-1) A lien attaches to all property owned or acquired on or after the date the lien notice or abstract of judgment is filed with the county clerk of the county in which the property is located, with the court clerk as to property or claims in litigation, or, as to property of the obligor in the possession or control of a third party, from the date the lien notice is delivered to that party.

SECTION 29. Subsection (a), Section 157.318, Family Code, is amended to read as follows:

(a) A lien is effective until all current support and child support arrearages, including interest any costs and reasonable attorney's fees, and any Title IV-D service fees authorized under Section 231.103 for which the obligor is responsible, have been paid or the lien is otherwise released as provided by this subchapter

Changes/actions required: This bill has 4 sections of interest for title companies:


1. A person who knowingly fails to comply with a child support order to turn over property or disposes of property in the face of a child support lien, becomes liable for the lien to the extent of the property.


2. An employee of the title company holding an escrow officers license can have renewal of that license withheld if the person has a unpaid child support due.


3. The child support lien applies to all property owned or acquired by the person owing child support as of the date the lien is recorded in the county records.


4. A court retains continuing jurisdiction over child support orders until all amounts required under the order are paid.

 

3.12.3

Child Support Judgments In The Bankruptcy Code

A discharge in bankruptcy does not discharge the obligation of child support under section 523(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code.