When a child support obligor accrues an arrears balance, those arrears become a judgment and lien by operation of law. See 43 O.S. §135. That “lien” must be recorded in the public records of the County Clerk to give notice of the lien to potential purchasers of real property. Notice is given when CSS records its first judgment by preparing a Statement of Judgment (SOJ) form, and then asking the County Clerk in any County in which the obligor owns real property to add it to the Judgment Index of that county. 12 O.S. §706. The County Clerk will stamp the SOJ with important recording information, such as a book and page number where the lien is filed, and then return the document to CSS. If CSS knows that the obligor owns real property in more than one county in Oklahoma*, then a SOJ may be recorded in multiple counties.
There may be multiple lien holders
The judgment lien against real property can become important to CSS when the property is part of a real estate foreclosure case, when an obligor is attempting to sell the real property, or when the obligor is attempting to mortgage the real property. In each of these circumstances, holders of valid liens or mortgages have an opportunity to get paid. In Oklahoma, if there is a sale and not enough money to pay all liens and mortgages in full, then priority to payment is based on the date the liens or mortgages are filed with the County Clerk. Filing a SOJ, and then timely filing Renewal of Judgment forms with the County Clerk increases the opportunity for CSS to get paid on arrears.
- Priority of payment is determined by the date on which the SOJ was filed with the County Clerk
- The earlier the date, the higher the CSS position in line eligible for payment
Unless timely renewed, child support judgment liens created by filing a SOJ expire 5 years after they are filed with the County Clerk. The renewal of a judgment lien against real property can happen when any one of 4 different documents are issued by the Court Clerk and filed with the County Clerk in the same county where the SOJ was previously filed. The easiest document for CSS to produce and file is the Notice of Renewal of Judgment form published by the Oklahoma Administrative Office of the Courts. The Notice of Renewal of Judgment form is available in ALC as the GN11. The Notice must be filed with the County Clerk before the expiration of the five year period after the SOJ (or a previous Notice of Renewal of Judgment document) was filed with the County Clerk. 12 O.S. §759.
Once the Statement of Judgment (GN9) is filed, you need to update the lien information in OSIS.
To do this, go to LENL and type “S” next to “PROPERTY” under the LIEN TYPE column. Then hit “Enter”.
This takes you to the LENPRL screen. To add the new lien hit F4, which allows you to enter the information on LENPRA.
Enter the county number that the lien was filed in (for example, 55 for Oklahoma County) in the “COUNTY FILED IN” field.
Enter the “FILING DATE” of the lien. This date is listed on your lien. Usually it is listed on the sticker of stamp placed on the SOJ in the top-right corner of the document.
Enter the “FILING TYPE”. If you are updating this information from a new SOJ, then enter “SOJ” into the “FILING TYPE” field.
Enter the “BOOK”, “PAGE”, and “DOC#”. This information is found on your SOJ. Usually this information is located on the sticker in the top-right corner of the SOJ.
After entering this information, hit “Enter”. OSIS will then tell you that your lien has been added successfully.
Once filed with the County Clerk, the lien is effective notice to any person or entity attempting to purchase the property, or to use the property as collateral for a mortgage. This notice, however, automatically expires five (5) years from the date the SOJ is filed with the county clerk, unless extended in accordance with 12 O.S. §759. See Property Lien Renewal Update for the process of Renewing and Extending the lien on real property.
Note: The Statement of Judgment form is created by the Oklahoma Administrator of the Courts and is used only in Oklahoma. To file a notice of the CSS lien in other states against real property located there, use the OCSS form called Notice of Lien. It is available in ALC as the I10NL. See also the OCSS Intergovernmental Reference Guide for potential state specific information on filing a Notice of Lien in that state.