Consult a Fathers Rights Attorney When Needed
Video Transcribed: I’m a Tulsa Men’s Divorce Lawyer. And guys, today I’d like to talk to you about child support liens. What is a child support lien? If you owe a judgment for child support, for arrearages, or unpaid child support, that becomes a civil judgment against you, just like any other civil judgment, except for the fact that child support judgments carry a lot more teeth. You can’t bankrupt out of them. And some of the protections you would get under normal debtor-creditor laws do not apply to child support debt.
Also, if you owe money, then DHS or your ex can take that judgment, walk it down to the county clerk’s office and register it. And that then becomes what’s called a personal lien. Now what that means is, that anything at all that you own, anything, is now attached. You now have a lien against it.
Do you own your own home? Lien. Do you own your own car? Lien. Do you have personal effects? We all do. And when I mean personal effects, I mean like your household goods, your couch, your television, your X-Box, your PlayStation, your computer. Lien. That’s now all attached. Do you want to sell it? You have to pay DHS first, pay her first.
And I will tell you that these liens will follow you literally into the grave. DHS will try to enforce these liens against your estate after you die if you owe that money. I’m not joking. I’ve actually defended surviving spouses on this exact issue. And they are aggressive when they want to come after when they think you owe them money.
The object lesson is, avoid the lien. If you know you have a child on the way, and you’re not married to the mother, then make sure you help support that child from before it’s born. Help support her. If marriage is a possibility, get married. If marriage is not a possibility, at least make sure that you are helping her out financially, you help support that child and document it.
And then the next thing I’m going to tell you is, get into court as fast as you possibly can. File paternity, and file it in district court, not admin court. And start creating a payment history to avoid that arrearage. If you get an arrearage, and if you have any way possible you could pay that, even if it means taking out a loan, do it. You do not want that lien. It’s better to owe money to a creditor than to owe money for child support. Because they will chase you to the ends of the earth. I’m not kidding.
They can also do things like garnish your wages, yank it right out of your check before you even see it. They can garnish your checking account, your savings account. If you started saving money, you’ve got savings, you’re trying to buy a car, you’re trying to buy a house.
If you owe that money, it’s gone. They’ll snatch it. You’re expecting a big refund on your taxes, kiss it goodbye. You got a judgment of any kind because somebody, like for example a personal injury judgment, it’s gone. They’ll snatch that right up.
They do not screw around with these things, guys. So the best thing you can do for yourself as a father is don’t owe this money. Do not get in arrearage. If you’re not custodial, do not get arrearage. And that brings me to my next point, which is your very best defense against child support at large is to get joint custody.
Seriously, because that gets you the benefit of the child of what’s called the parenting time credit. If you have 131 days or more, you get some money to offer that monthly payment. And that will ultimately reduce any potential arrearages.
But I’m dead serious, the more time you have with your child… And I said, 131, it’s 121. 121 days or more, and you start getting the parenting time credit. And you want to actually exercise those days. If you’re supposed to have your kid overnight, have your kid overnight. And if you can’t do it one night, get a make-up night. Seriously. One, you want to be in your child’s life. And two, it saves you money and it saves you on that arrearage.
If you’re getting divorced, same thing, document, document, document, and get joint custody. Seriously. And if you don’t have some kind of history, if you don’t have a criminal history, if you don’t have a history of domestic violence, if you don’t have a history of child abuse, if you don’t do drugs and you don’t drink too much, and you’re not doing stupid things like that, there’s no reason in the world you shouldn’t have joint custody.
I’m going to sit here and tell you that right now. There was no legitimate legal reason for you not to have joint custody. There was no legitimate moral reason for you not to have joint custody. You are just as valuable as she is. Fight for it.
And don’t let her convince you that she’s going to walk all over you in court and so you might as well capitulate. There are some people that’ll tell you that. Don’t listen to them. Fight. You have a right to be in your child’s life, and you have a right not to get soaked.
So seriously, don’t back down on that. It’s worth fighting for. Yes, you could potentially lose. And that sucks. But you’ve got a better chance of getting where you want to be by fighting than by rolling over for somebody. And if you find yourself looking at a situation where you may soon have a child support liability. If you are looking for a divorce attorney for men, go to dads.law.