When a person fails to pay child support obligations in Texas, the Attorney General will file a lien in the real property records attempting to encumber any real estate owned by the obligor. The obligor typically discovers any recorded child support liens after receiving a tile commitment in the process of selling real estate.
The preliminary issue is to which types of real property child support liens attach. Section 157.317 (b) of the Family Code specifies that “a lien attaches to all nonhomestead real property of the obligor but does not attach to a homestead exempt under the Texas Constitution of the Property Code.”
While the code is conclusive that child support liens do not attach to homestead property, title companies will still require the child support lien to be released properly. Fortunately, section 157.3171 outlines a process by which to unilaterally release the child support lien. The procedure mirrors the judgment creditor release process in Property Code Section 52.0012 and requires the obligor to file an affidavit in the real property records swearing that the property in question is the obligor’s homestead.
The contents of the affidavit and the process is very technical, and it is advisable that a competent real estate attorney be used to properly release the child support lien.
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