Frequently Asked Questions

Why does it take 15 days to process a Request for Demand?

Once a request for demand letter is received, DCSS is required to review the account billing for accuracy. A full accounting may take up to a week to process. In addition, DCSS may need to contact the custodial party to determine if any additional support arrears are owed.

Why is a copy of the abstract or lien necessary?

DCSS wants to ensure that your client is the obligor named on the abstract and that our department issued the abstract or lien. Every county in the State has a child support agency and each agency files its own abstracts or liens. Although we are in the business of collecting child support we want to make sure the money we collect is actually owed on one of our cases.

What happens when the title company discovers a judgment lien or abstract recorded against a client who is buying, selling or refinancing a piece of real property?

The title company will request a "demand" from the creditor (DCSS will be the creditor that recorded the judgment lien or abstract lien). DCSS will prepare a statement of how much is owed on the judgment. This is known as the “demand”. In the case of an on-going child support order, if the debtor is behind in his or her payments the demand will be for the amount of the support arrearage.

If there is a delay in settling the demand it is important to understand that the amount owed may change, and an updated demand may be needed. Failing to make additional payments toward child support obligations will cause the amount owed to increase.

Why are judgment liens filed in support cases?

DCSS is required by state regulation to file liens. Every DCSS case with a support order will have an abstract of the support order or judgment is filed with the county recorder's office in one or more counties. 

This recording will occur in the county or counties where the obligor resides, works, and where his / her parents reside. Because the abstracts do not reference a specific property, they do not appear on the initial title search of the property address. They will appear during the final title search of the obligor's name and / or social security number.

Refer to the FAQ titled, ‘How can the Title Company avoid delay at the close of escrow when they learn their client has a Judgment Lien filed by DCSS?’ above for tips on determining whether an abstract of the support order or judgment exists.

Can a lien be placed on property outside of California?

Yes. There are new provisions that allow states to file child support liens in other states. This is done on a case-by-case basis.

What happens to the lien if I quit claim the property?

All property owners involved could be liable for the debt if the lien was in place before the quit claim was recorded.