Child support liens: Vehicles & boats

Important information

  • Vehicle and vessel licensing offices can’t perform transactions on Saturday, December 10.
  • Vehicle and vessel online services won’t be available December 7-12 while we update our system.
  • On December 12, 2016, we’ll begin using a new vehicle and vessel computer system.
  • In the days following the launch of our new system, you may experience longer than usual wait times.

Learn more: DOL vehicle licensing system will be down on December 10 for system replacement (

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

  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. Then we issue a new title that lists DCS as a lien holder.

How child support liens affect vehicle and vessel titles

DCS must release the child support lien before you may transfer the title when selling or trading in the vehicle or vessel. If you are selling a vehicle or vessel that has a child support lien, DCS will work with you or your title company to release the lien as soon as the debt is paid. If you will receive less than the amount of the debt from the sale, the DCS support enforcement officer may negotiate a partial release based on a reasonable payment agreement.

What to do if a lien is filed on your vehicle or vessel

If you’ve received a notice that DCS filed a lien on your vehicle or vessel, contact your DCS support enforcement officer right away to make payment arrangements. For more information, visit DSHS website.

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