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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 01-1138


Support Liens Against Real Property

[31 Pa.B. 3368]

   The Department of Public Welfare (Department) intends to implement the support lien requirements of 23 Pa.C.S § 4352(d) in light of the promulgation of the Supreme Court rule on the same subject at Pa.R.C.P. 1910.22 (Rule 1910.22).

   Under 23 Pa.C.S. § 4352(d), the Department is charged with developing a system for providing notice to the public of liens arising out of overdue support obligations. Thirty days after a notice of establishment of such a system is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, any lien on record with this system constitutes a lien by operation of law against all real property owned by a support obligor, and also has the effect of a perfected security interest in personal property owned by the obligor.

   The Pennsylvania Constitution allows the Supreme Court to promulgate rules of civil procedure and to suspend statutes that are inconsistent with those rules. The Supreme Court promulgated Rule 1910.22 under its Constitutional rulemaking authority and it suspended 23 Pa.C.S. § 4352(d) and (d.1) to the extent inconsistent with the new rule. Rule 1910.22 makes overdue support obligations a lien against all real estate owned by an obligor within this Commonwealth. Accordingly, overdue support obligations constitute liens on real estate owned by an obligor throughout this Commonwealth even though the Department has not published the notice contemplated by 23 Pa.C.S. § 4352(d).

   The Department retains the authority under 23 Pa.C.S. § 4352(d) to publish a notice that makes support obligations a lien against personal property. However, the Department has not yet resolved the practical issues associated with personal property liens, such as how the liens will integrate with other personalty liens under the Uniform Commercial Code. Accordingly, the Department will defer publishing the notice specified under 23 Pa.C.S. § 4352(d) until these issues are resolved.

   Pending promulgation of the Department's notice under 23 Pa.C.S. § 4352(d), support obligations remain a lien against real estate by virtue of the Supreme Court's rule. Information regarding the amount of overdue support owed by an obligor under a court order to pay support in this Commonwealth may be obtained by accessing the Department's internet website or by contacting the State Collection and Disbursement Unit at (877) 676-9580. Hearing impaired persons can contact the State Collection and Disbursement Unit by calling (877) 676-9582. The Customer Support Unit is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Support liens have priority over all liens and encumbrances with the exception of Federal and State income taxes. Certification of the arrearage amount under 23 Pa.C.S. § 4352(d.1)(3) must be obtained from the appropriate county Domestic Relations Section.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 01-1138. Filed for public inspection June 22, 2001, 9:00 a.m.]

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