When the non-custodial parent owns real or personal property, the custodial parent or the Wyoming Child Support Program may file a lien against the property to collect payment. Real property is defined as land and encompasses whatever is erected, growing, or affixed to the land. Examples of real property include houses, crops in the field, and mobile homes affixed to a foundation. Personal property is defined as those things owned by the non-custodial parent other than real property. Examples of personal property are money, goods, cars, furniture, etc. When a lien is placed on a property, the owner cannot provide clear title to the property until the lien is satisfied.
Unlike other liens, a child support lien arises by operation of law which means the lien is automatically created by Wyoming statute rather than by filing, agreement or court order, However, the child support lien shall still be “perfected” as required by Wyoming law. A real property lien is “perfected” when the judgment is filed with the County Clerk of Court. A lien against personal property is “perfected” when the property is seized by the sheriff or frozen by the financial institution. The child support lien will remain in place until 21 years after the most recent execution to enforce the lien (See 9.10 Judgments for more details). Finally, if there are competing liens, the priority of competing liens is determined by the date of filing or perfection. (i.e. "first in time, first in right").
Liens including garnishments and seizures are enforcement remedies used at the discretion of each District CSP Office.
A lien on real property may be thought of as a “slumbering” lien as the non-custodial parent retains possession of the real property but cannot transfer clear title without clearing the lien.
In order to place a lien on real property in Wyoming, the case worker will:
Contact the County Clerk's office in the county of the suspected real property to verify the existence of the asset and the legal description;
Contact the County Clerk of Court in the county of the real property to determine the cost of filing the lien;
File the appropriate local county forms, fees, and a certified copy of the child support judgment with the County Clerk; and
Update POSSE – notes and asset screen.
Once a lien on real property is in place, the lien will remain until it is executed on and may be revived as described in 9.10 Judgments. When the non-custodial parent attempts to transfer title to a potential purchaser or lender, the title company will conduct a title search which will find the child support lien. When this occurs, the case worker will work directly with the title company to ensure the entire judgment is paid from the proceeds of the transaction. Once the judgment is satisfied, the case worker will file a Satisfaction of Judgment as discussed in 9.10 Judgments.
Personal property is often more difficult to locate than real property, and it may be held by the non-custodial parent (e.g. motorcycle or stamp collection) or by a third party (e.g. legal settlement or inheritance). In order to locate personal property, the case worker may contact:
The custodial parent;
County Treasurer for motor vehicles; and
POSSE Asset and FCR Screens for the following information:
Insurance matches; or
See 9.2 Administrative Remedies for details regarding insurance matches, Financial Institution Data Matches (FIDM), and Multistate Financial Institution Data Matches (MSFIDM).
Once the case worker locates personal property, the case worker will:
Determine if the non-custodial parent “owns” the personal property;
Review the case for the appropriate delinquency as follows:
In cases where there is a current support obligation, the non-custodial parent will be in arrears at least triple the current monthly obligation;
In cases where there is no longer a current support obligation, the non-custodial parent will be in arrears at least triple the former monthly obligation; and
In cases where there are arrears but there was never a current support obligation, the non-custodial has not made any payments for the past ninety (90) days;
Ascertain that the value (e.g. current market value, equity in the property, or value to the non-custodial parent) of the asset exceeds the cost of the seizure (e.g. filing, attorney, and/or sheriff fees, costs of seizure, storage pending sale, advertising, and conducting the sale);
Ensure the non-custodial parent:
has not filed for bankruptcy;
is not subject to pending child support litigation; and
does not have a court order that prohibits liens; and
File the appropriate documents with the County Clerk based upon the type of property. See local District CSP Office procedures or discuss with the District CSP Office Attorney.
FIDM or MSFIDM
In addition to the above criteria, filing a lien against accounts in financial institutions as identified through the FIDM and MSFIDM process also requires that the case worker:
Verify the non-custodial parent is the only account holder. The CSP may not lien assets held in financial institutions or credit unions unless the account is held solely by the non-custodial parent. See Wyo. Stat.§ 20-6-106(m)(xi)(B).
Ensure the account may be levied. Those accounts that are exempt from the FIDM/MSFIDM lien and levy process are certain trust and escrow accounts. These include:
Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Account (IOLTA) accounts;
UTMA/UGMA (Uniform Transfer or Gift to Minors Act) accounts;
Mortgage escrow accounts; and
Security deposit/real estate accounts.
Execution on Liens
Execution is the legal process of enforcing the judgment by seizing and selling the property of the non-custodial parent. In Wyoming, the sheriff in the county where the property is located will seize the property after receiving the appropriate paperwork from the District Clerk of Court and store the property pending the sale.
Notice of Exemptions
Under certain lien and levy actions, the non-custodial parent receives a notice of an opportunity for a hearing and a list of benefits exempted from seizure. The statutory exemptions include:
Social Security benefits pursuant to 42 USC 407 and Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
Black lung benefits;
Personal Opportunity with Employment Responsibilities (POWER) payments;
Federal civil service and state retirement system benefits;
Worker’s compensation benefits;
Unemployment compensation benefits;
Earnings from personal services as defined by Wyo. Stat. § 1-15-102(a)(vi);
Homestead, personal articles and articles used for carrying on a trade or business to the extent provided by Wyo. Stat. §§ 1-20-101 through 1-20-109; and/or
Other exemptions as provided by law.
If the non-custodial parent wants a hearing, the non-custodial parent shall file the Notice for Hearing and Claim for Exemption with the appropriate District Court within 10 days after the date the notice was mailed to the non-custodial parent.
This process can also be used when requesting seizure of all of the money on the non-custodial parent’s person (e.g. a pocket levy), vehicle or house.
Full Faith and Credit
Wyoming will give full faith and credit to a child support lien arising in another state as long as the lien complies with procedural rules.
Note: Liens shall not be filed in cases where the obligor is receiving SSI OR SSDI.
Last Revised Date
April 3, 2017