What is a Real Property Lien?
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. That public 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. CSS will also update OSIS using the process described in the Quest page A New Property Lien In OSIS.
Once filed with the County Clerk, the lien is effective notice to any person or entity attempting to purchase the property or use the property as collateral for a mortgage. This notice, however, automatically expires 5 years from the date the SOJ is filed of record with the county clerk, unless extended in accordance with 12 O.S. §759.
- A filed Statement of Judgment with the county clerk whenever a judgment is taken
- Creates a lien on all of an NCP’s real property in the county where the SOJ is filed
- If NCP attempts to sell or mortgage the property, s/he usually cannot until the lien is satisfied
- This could result in a child support payment!
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.
Note: The filing of a second or subsequent Statement of Judgment form does NOT renew or extend the original filing date of a previous SOJ. Filing a SOJ instead of a Notice of Renewal of Judgment has the effect of restarting the time period upon which priority of payments is viewed. Only if a Notice of Renewal of Judgment was not timely filed with a County Clerk should a subsequent SOJ be filed.
- Statements of judgment must be renewed every five years
- Use the Notice of Renewal of Judgment Lien (GN11) to prevent losing priority to payment
The Lien Renewal Process
- When a new order/judgment is created – a Statement of Judgment is usually created and printed with the packet; CSS follows the process to file the SOJ with county clerk and update OSIS with the filing information on LENL.
- Six months before the five year expiration of a judgment lien, the CX444Q02 report on CMOD will show a list for the CSS District Offices of all cases with liens approaching the time at which the liens will expire.
- In addition, a Notice of Renewal of Judgment form will print automatically (GN11A – with “A” being the automatic version of the form) 45-60 days prior to the expiration time for each case at the CSS district Office. This document can only automatically print at the right time and have the right information if OSIS was previously updated with the previous filing information. See the Quest page on updating new SOJ referenced above. If the document printed does not have the filing date, and book and page number of filing, then you will have to manually add that to the document.
- CSS District Offices can use the report to either monitor the timely printing of the Notice, or to manually generate the Notice of Renewal of Judgment documents. The GN11 (without the “A” at the end) is used to manually generate a Notice of Renewal of Judgment document.
- The law related to renewals requires that a certified copy of the Notice be filed with the County Clerk. To get a “certified copy” of the Notice form, the document must first be filed with the Court Clerk where the child support case is pending. The Court Clerk must certify a copy of the document and provide it to CSS. The Court Clerk will retain the original like all other documents filed with the Court.
- The Specialist will then file the Notice of Renewal of Judgment with the County Clerk(s) where the previous SOJ was filed. If the SOJ was filed in more than one county, then it will need to be renewed in each county.
- The Specialist should then update LENL with the new filling information (date, book and page number, etc.) provided by the County Clerk when the Notice was filed.
A few new fields were previously added to OSIS on LENPRU. These track the history of the property lien.
How-To Steps for Completing the Renewal
Prior to the pandemic of 2020, the normal process for accomplishing the entire renewal process started with preparing the Notice of Renewal of Judgment document at the CSS District Office. Someone in the CSS Office then hand carried the document to the Court Clerk. The Court Clerk would file the original and return a certified copy. That same person from the CSS District Office could walk to the County Clerk’s Office and file the certified copy with the County Clerk. Upon return to the CSS Office, the updates to OSIS could be made.
During the time of the pandemic, several offices have developed the following process for timely completing the Renewal of Judgment process:
- Prepare the Notice of Renewal of Judgment document as before.
- Prepare a short and simple letter to the Court Clerk where the child support case is pending requesting that the Court Clerk file the Notice of Renewal of Judgment and return a certified copy to the CSS District Office. Including a self-addressed postage paid return envelope will increase the timely return of the certified copy.
- The mailing address for every Court Clerk is available on OSCN.
- Upon receiving the certified copy back at the CSS Office, prepare a short and simple letter to the County Clerk of the county or counties where you previously filed a SOJ. Request that the County Clerk file the certified copy in the Judgment Index. Also request that a filed copy be returned to the CSS Office. Again, including a self-addressed postage paid return envelope will increase the likelihood of getting the document back timely.
- When the Notice of Renewal of Judgment is filed by the County Clerk and returned to the CSS District Office, it is time to update OSIS and LENL with the new information.
It is possible to use ALC and the G03 – Freeform Letter to produce the simple letters.
Neither ALC nor OSIS retains the mailing addresses for the Court Clerks nor the County Clerks, so the worker will need to find and save those mailing addresses.
- All active and expired liens
- Active liens that are due to expire within the next 6 months. GN11A documents for these documents are printed automatically at the local office – case workers file the GN11A’s at the Court Clerk to get certified copies, then the County Clerk’s office.
- CX444Q03 – Expired liens
- Indicates liens that need to be re-created. To do this workers will need to print a Statement of Judgment (GN9) document, file it at with the County Clerk, then go to LENPRU and create a new SOJ line in the filing area.
- CX444Q04 – Potential liens
- NCP case’s with over $500 in arrears and at least one active case in the CSS office, but no property lien recorded in OSIS in the office.
- Progress report showing quarterly history for the following (both in terms of percentages and numbers of liens):
- Active or Expired Office Liens / Potential Office Liens
- Expired Office Liens / Active Office Liens
Note: Office Lien – one office lien is counted for each NCP that has one or more active cases in the office, and more than $500 in total arrears.