|Thursday, November 16, 2000 |
Tommy G. Thompson
News Media Contact
DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES CREATION OF LIEN DOCKET
A new tool in child support enforcement
MADISON Department of Workforce Development Secretary Jennifer Reinert announced today the creation of the lien docket, a new tool in the effort to collect unpaid child support. Parents who owe more than $30,000 in unpaid child support are the first to be added to the lien docket. These parents must satisfy the lien by paying it off in full, or the lien will be deducted from any proceeds of the sale of their property.
"It is certainly unfortunate that the lien docket has become necessary, but when you consider nearly $2 billion in child support is currently owed to thousands of Wisconsin families its easy to understand why," said Secretary Reinert.
The first set of names to appear on the lien docket were posted on October 10, 2000. The list includes approximately 4,200 parents who each owe more than $30,000 in child support. The threshold for adding names to the lien docket will be gradually lowered over the next nine months and may eventually include parents who owe $500 or one month of past-due child support.
"What we have found so far in several Wisconsin counties is when parents learn their name will be placed on the lien docket, they call the local child support agency and pay up or make arrangements to pay in monthly installments. This is what we hope to see a lot more of," said Reinert.
For instance, a Grant County parent who owed more than $23,000 was preparing to sell his home. When he found out about the lien docket, he paid the amount in full. Douglas County has settled seven cases with parents who each owed several thousands of dollars in support. In Wood County, a parent who owed $16,000 settled with the custodial parent by paying $14,000 in cash.
"Child support plays such a critical role in the financial well being of a family. In low-income families child support can represent about one-third of the familys income. Study after study has shown families can be lifted out of poverty if they receive the child support that is due to them," added Reinert.
In order to access the lien docket, users will need a pass code before viewing the list. The lien docket does not contain address information and cannot be used to find a persons social security number.
The lien docket is part of a new child support collection initiative mandated by the federal government in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.
Several other new enforcement tools, also mandated by the federal government, will be implemented in the coming months. Child support agencies will be able to seize the bank accounts of payers on the lien docket, or require the suspension or denial of a payers professional drivers or recreational license. The process can begin as early as mid-November.
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