The division of marital property can be complicated when there are liens involved. Liens can be placed when a spouse owes an unpaid debt such as taxes, child support or alimony that is not a part of the current marriage. In order for communal property to be sold, it is necessary that a lien be lifted or satisfied.
Sometimes, liens are placed against real estate property, and they are used as collateral to ensure that the debt will be satisfied. The lien goes with the property, and the owner of the property is responsible for satisfying the lien, regardless of if the actual debtor’s name is on the title. A divorce and the possible transfer of ownership will not remove the lien against the house. In order for the property to be sold, as often happens in a divorce, the lien-holder must agree to lift the lien. Once the house has been sold, the lien is satisfied out of the proceeds.
Liens placed against a communal property because of the back child support of one party can sometimes be resolved by communication with the entity that placed the lien. In Connecticut, if a parent owes more than $500 in back child support, the state can place a lien against their property. With the assurance that the lien can be satisfied, arrangements may be made to sell the property if the state allows the sale to proceed. In the event that the property is not sold, the state could use other means to collect back child support including garnishing wages or intercepting tax refunds.
The difficulty inherent in the divorce process can be compounded by issues surrounding the division of marital assets. Working with an attorney may help in understanding the possible choices that can be made to facilitate the sale of communal property. An attorney may offer assistance and guidance through the procedure.
Source: ct.gov, “Child Support: A Guide to Services in Connecticut,” 2013
Source: FOX Business, “Will Divorce Release You From Home Lien?”, Steve Bucci, January 10, 2014