3.12 Child Support Judgments


In General

Generally, in divorce and separation cases, statutes provide for a monthly allowance for the maintenance of the children of the marriage. The authority of the court to issue a child support order or judgment in a particular divorce or separation case, and the form, amount, duration, and enforcement of the order or judgment are entirely matters of state law.

Child support orders or judgments present some unique characteristics that must be fully considered when determining their effect on land owned by the obligor or debtor:

  • Does the entering of a child support order create an automatic lien on the obligor's property?
  • Is there a controlling statute creating a lien on real property? Does this lien have super priority?
  • Is it necessary to effectuate any additional filing or recording of the order in any other real estate records or registry?
  • Have the provisions of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act been enacted in the state?
  • Has the support judgment been assigned to any state, county, or municipal agency?
  • Does the lack of delinquency allow the obligor's property to be considered, at that point in time, not subject to the lien of the child support judgment?
  • Has proof been obtained that the obligor is current on payments?
  • Has proof been obtained from the party entitled to receive the payments on behalf of the minor?
  • Can the party entitled to receive payments relinquish the right to receive the payments?
  • What is the effect, under state law, of the:

    • Obligor's death?
    • Majority or emancipation of the child?
    • Subsequent statutory reduction in age of majority?
    • Enlistment of the minor in any branch of the nation's armed services?
    • Marriage of the child?

When does the child support judgment terminate under state law, especially if the child has become disabled?

Does such accrued installment constitute an additional judgment?


Child Support Judgments In The Bankruptcy Code

A discharge in bankruptcy does not discharge the obligation of child support under section 523(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code.