Child support liens: Vehicle and boat dealers

See how child support liens affect vehicle and boat dealers, and how to verify who holds a lien.

Learn about child support liens

Read about how we use vehicle liens to enforce child support and collect late payments.

How child support liens affect vehicle and boat dealers

Sometimes a person will try to trade in a vehicle with a child support lien after we cancel the title. This is against the law.

Normally, the Division of Child Support (DCS) will try to collect money from the person who owes the child support. However, you may need to pay all or part of the lien if you buy a vehicle with a canceled title. To avoid this, follow the steps below to find out if a vehicle has a lien on it.

How to check who holds a lien on a vehicle

Option 1: Use a contracted plate search

With a contracted plate search, you can look up vehicle and boat records online. You'll need to create an account to use this system. 

Call our public disclosure department at 360-359-4001 for more information.

Fees for contracted plate searches

  • One-time deposit: $25
  • Record requests: $.04 each

Option 2: Contact our records department

Call our records department at 360-359-4002. They're available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you have an account for contracted plate searches, the records department can give you lien holder names. If you don't have an account, they can only tell you if there's a lien holder on the title.

Other ways to avoid receiving a fraudulent title

  • Ask customers to sign a form that says they're trading in or selling a vehicle without a lien.
  • Contact the main lien holder about the amount they're owed. Ask them if DCS holds a lien.
  • Give us your current address and check that it's correct.
  • Contact law enforcement to prosecute someone who tries to trade in a vehicle with a canceled title.

Get more information about child support liens

We have brochures about how child support liens affect vehicle and boat dealers. Call us at 360-664-5000 or fax us at 360-664-5209 to request one.

Need additional help? Here's how to contact us:

call Phone: 360-705-6741
(TTY: Call 711)
fax Fax: 360-705-6699
mail Email:
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