Child support liens: Vehicle and vessel dealers

How vehicle titles are used to enforce child support

We work together with the Department of Social and Health Services Division of Child Support (DCS) to enforce child support and collect delinquent payments:

  1. If someone owes child support, DCS places a lien on the person’s vehicle or vessel.
  2. We send a Notice of Cancellation to the person or business who holds the title on the vehicle or vessel under the lien.
  3. We tell the titleholder to return the cancelled title to us or destroy it.
  4. We issue a new title that lists the corrected lien holders.

How child support liens affect vehicle and vessel dealers

Sometimes a title that was canceled due to a child support lien is used fraudulently to trade in a vehicle. Although DCS intends to collect from the person who owes the child support, a dealership may be held liable for paying all or part of the amount of the lien.

How you can verify who holds a lien on a vehicle

  • Use our Internet Vehicle/Vessel Information Processing System (IVIPS).
    • You must set up an account before using the system.
    • There is a one-time deposit of $25 and a charge of $.04 per inquiry.
    • Contact our Public Disclosure Section at 360.359.4001 for more information.
  • Contact our Records Section at 360.359.4002.
    • Service is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., except holidays.
    • If you have an IVIPS account, you can get lien holder names. If you don’t have an IVIPS account, you can only find out if there is a lien holder on the title.

What else you can do to avoid receiving a fraudulent title

  • Create a form for customers to sign that says the vehicle they’re trading in or selling doesn’t have a DCS lien.
  • Contact the primary lien holder for payoff information and ask them if there is a lien held by DCS.
  • Provide us with your current address and verify that it is correct.
  • Prosecute the felon.

How to get more information

Request a DSHS/DCS Dealers & Lenders Brochure by:

  • Phone: 360.664.5000
  • Fax: 360.664.5209
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