Child Support Liens
How do parents find out they are listed on the Child Support Lien Docket?
If a parent is listed on the Child Support Lien Docket, child support mails a "Notice of Lien and Credit Bureau Reporting" to the parent. The notice will tell the parent the amount of the lien and the date it was listed on the docket. This notice also describes the parent's rights and procedures for disputing the lien amount. Child support mails this notice to the parent's address on file with the parent's child support agency. Parents can update their addresses on the Child Support Online Services website or by contacting their child support agency.
What happens when a parent is listed on the Child Support Lien Docket?
When a parent is listed on the Child Support Lien Docket:
- A lien will be placed on the parent's real property (home, land) and on titled property (car, truck).
- Child support will report the lien to credit bureaus, which could affect the parent's ability to qualify for loans.
- State agencies will deny grants and loans to the parents. These grants and loans include student loans and higher education grants, as well as mortgage loans from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). If a parent agrees to a payment plan and abides by it, the parent may receive these grants and loans.
The child support agency may also take these enforcement actions against those listed on the Lien Docket:
- Intercept lump sum pension payments from public retirement funds, such as the retirement funds for Wisconsin state employees, City of Milwaukee employees, and Milwaukee County employees. (Periodic payments from public retirement funds are not intercepted.)
- Intercept judgments or settlements, such as a car accident or personal injury settlement.
- Request the suspension or denial of professional, occupational, driver's, and recreational (hunting and fishing) licenses when a Child Support Lien equals or exceeds three months' worth of support.
- Seize bank accounts including checking, savings, IRAs, and mutual funds when a Child Support Lien equals or exceeds $1,000 or three months' worth of support, whichever is greater.
- Seize real property (land) and titled property (cars) when a Child Support Lien equals or exceeds six months' worth of support.
Before these enforcement actions are taken, child support mails a written notice to the parent at the address listed with the child support agency. (Parents can update their addresses on the Child Support Online Services website or by contacting their child support agency.) The notice informs the parent of the right to a hearing. The hearing only looks at whether or not the child support debt is correct. The hearing is not about the type of action planned. The notice will also tell the parent what actions can be avoided if the parent agrees to and follows a payment plan. Parents should contact their child support agency to set up a payment plan.