My escrow company has informed me there is a lien on my property. Why was a lien placed and how can I remove it?

Placing a lien on a real property is a mandated enforcement action for all civil orders or judgments for child support cases. An Abstract of Support Judgment filed with the county recorder's office creates a lien, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedures §697.320. In order to remove your lien, a request for demand letter is required along with a copy of the abstract from your escrow company. Once the request is received, an arrears balance, if any, will be provided to the escrow company within 15 calendar days. If the amount provided is satisfied, a release of lien will be processed.

Requests for demand and release of lien should be faxed to San Mateo County DCSS at 650-549-1971 or mailed to San Mateo County DCSS, Box 8084, Redwood City, CA 94063.

NOTE:  DCSS cannot expedite this process. Please request the demand or withdrawal of lien as early as possible to meet any escrow deadlines.

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.

How can I use my home to pay off my child support arrears?

Using the equity in your home, you may be able to either refinance your mortgage or obtain a Home Equity Loan (HEL) or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to reduce your child support arrears or possibly even pay off your child support arrears in full.

What is the benefit of using the equity in my home?
  1. The interest is typically much lower than the interest charged on other types of loans.
  2. The interest may be considerably lower than the 10% per year that is accruing on your unpaid child support debt.
  3. Unlike the interest you pay for child support, the interest paid on a refinance may be tax deductible! (See your tax preparer to see if you qualify.)
What are the advantages to paying off my child support arrears?
  1. Eliminate interest, which is accruing on child support arrears at the rate of 10% per year
  2. Improve your credit rating
  3. Prevent suspension of your driver's license
  4. Prevent suspension of your professional license
  5. Prevent intercept of your tax refunds
  6. Prevent suspension of your passport
  7. Prevent a levy against your bank account
What are the advantages to reducing my child support arrears?
  1. Improve your credit history by reducing your total indebtedness
  2. Minimize the amount of interest paid
Will DCSS refinance my home or arrange for me to take out a home equity loan?

Unfortunately, our agency cannot be involved in a refinance of your home nor assist you in obtaining a home equity loan or line of credit. You should seek out information from your tax preparer or lending institution.

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.