Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens in Andrews County, Texas
Judgment creditors facing challenges in collecting from a debtor can turn to Busby & Associates for help. We work in judgment-related legal services, including defense, collection, and enforcement. Our primary focus is on garnishing bank accounts and financial institutions, but we also assist clients in consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce cases, for both obligors and obligees under child support liens. Additionally, we can help with the domestication of foreign child support liens in Texas. Give us a call and we’ll guide you through the process and help you collect your judgment if your debtor lives in Andrews County, Texas.
Texas Judgment liens
To establish a judgment lien, an abstract of judgment must be properly recorded and indexed in Andrews County, which applies to all non-exempt real property of the judgment debtor within that county. The lien remains in effect for ten years, unless the judgment becomes dormant. To be eligible for a judgment lien, the underlying judgment must be final and not interlocutory. Even if the judgment is being appealed, a lien can still be established before the appeal. Keep in mind that these rules only apply to Texas state trial court judgments and not to judgments from other states or foreign countries, which must first be domesticated in Texas to create a lien.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
In Texas, the responsibility of preparing an abstract of judgment falls on either a judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, or the judgment creditor’s agent, attorney, or assignee, with the exception of small claims and justice courts where the judgment creditor is not permitted to do so. Additionally, abstracts of federal court judgments must be certified by the clerk of the court.
To be considered valid, a Texas abstract of judgment must include the following details: (1) the names of the plaintiff and defendant; (2) the defendant’s birthdate, if obtainable by the clerk of justice; (3) the last three digits of the defendant’s driver’s license number, if obtainable; (4) the last three digits of the defendant’s social security number, if obtainable; (5) the suit number in which the judgment was granted; (6) the defendant’s address or, if not listed in the suit, the citation’s details and the date and location of service; (7) the date of judgment; (8) the amount of the judgment and the remaining balance; (9) any outstanding child support arrearage; (10) the interest rate specified in the judgment. It is important to note that the mailing address for each plaintiff or judgment creditor must be included, or a penalty fee will be imposed. Additionally, the abstract prepared by the creditor’s attorney must be verified and unsworn declarations are unacceptable.
To record the abstract of judgment in Andrews County; where the debtor owns real property, the county clerk must file it in the Andrews County’s real property records and note the date and time of recordation. Additionally, the clerk must include the names of all parties in the judgment and the page number in the records where the abstract is recorded in the alphabetical index of the real property records. The County Clerk in Andrews County Texas is located at 215 NW 1st Street Ste 121—A Andrews, Texas 79714.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgments.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act provide that foreign judgments are enforceable in the same manner as if they were filed in the court where they were granted. This applies to the holder of the foreign judgment seeking to domesticate it in Texas, who must also meet the lien requirements outlined in these acts.
Property to Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
In Andrews County; the county where it was recorded, the lien for the judgment attaches to any real property that is not exempt and belongs to the defendant.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
- Non-governmental Judgments
The lien resulting from a judgment stays in effect for a decade after it is recorded and indexed, unless the judgment becomes dormant. To maintain the lien, it’s essential to both keep the judgment active and record a new abstract of judgment. A judgment is deemed dormant if a writ of execution is not issued within 10 years of its rendition. The dormant judgment can be reactivated by either scire facias or by filing an action of debt before the second anniversary of the judgment becoming dormant.
- State or State Agency Judgments.
State or state agency judgments do not become dormant and a properly filed abstract of judgment creates a lien that lasts for 20 years from the date of filing. This lien can be renewed for another 20-year period through the filing of a renewed abstract of judgment.
- Political Subdivisions.
The dormancy statutes suggest that judgments made by political subdivisions may become inactive. However, the statute of limitations outlined in Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006 does not apply to these judgments, meaning they can be revived at any time, regardless of the dormancy period.
- Child Support Judgments.
The dormancy statute does not apply to child support judgments, per Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, and applies to all child support judgments.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
- Property Subject to Execution.
Property that belongs to the judgment debtor can be taken through execution, unless it is protected by constitutional, statutory, or other legal exemptions. Typically, assets such as cash, pleasure boats, collections, financial instruments, and airplanes are not exempt. However, corporations do not have any exempt property.
- Property Exempt from Execution.
Property that is not subject to execution for both families and single adults: the homestead, personal property with a value of $100,000 for families or $50,000 for single adults as specified by statute, wages earned for personal services (except for child support), unpaid commissions for personal services not exceeding 25% of the $50/$100,000 aggregate limit, health aids prescribed by a professional, worker’s compensation payments, cemetery lots held for burial, property that the judgment debtor sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust if the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee can provide other property of the debtor to satisfy the execution, assets in the hands of a trustee of a spendthrift trust for the benefit of the judgment debtor, certain insurance benefits, certain savings plans such as retirement benefits and health savings plans, college savings plans, and consigned artwork.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
To collect on a judgment, the creditor may utilize the post-judgment garnishment process to examine the relationship between the debtor and a third party for any outstanding funds or property. Should such funds or property be discovered, the creditor may obtain a garnishment judgment directing the third party to pay them to the creditor rather than the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment is possible if the creditor holds a final and subsisting judgment against the debtor, the debtor has not taken steps to halt execution of the judgment through an approved supersedeas bond, and the creditor verifies that, to their knowledge, the debtor does not possess enough property in Texas that can be used to pay off the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
In a post-judgment garnishment, the action taken is separate from the main lawsuit it is used to enforce. This ancillary action should be brought against the third-party garnishee as the defendant. The application for post-judgment garnishment should be filed in the same court where the judgment was rendered, but with a different cause number. For instance, if the original suit was filed in the 245th judicial district court of Andrews County, Texas, the garnishment action should also be filed in Andrews County.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The writ of garnishment must be served upon the garnishee, while the judgment defendant is not a mandatory party in the garnishment action. Nevertheless, they must be given a copy of the writ, the application, accompanying affidavits, and court orders as soon as possible after the writ is served on the garnishee. Furthermore, the copy of the writ served to the defendant must be in 12-point type, and written in a manner that is easily understandable to a reasonably attentive person. If the judgment debtor is not given proper notice, any judgment, except for one dissolving the writ, will be void.
Banks as Garnishees
In accordance with the Finance Code, writs of garnishment served on garnishee banks must be delivered to the registered agent’s address listed in the financial institution’s registration statement filed with the Secretary of State. Section 201.102 requires out-of-state financial institutions to file an application for registration with the Secretary of State and appoint an agent for the process, while Section 201.103 allows Texas financial institutions to file a statement with the Secretary of State appointing an agent for the process.
The Tex. R. Civ. P. 663 requires that the officer executing a writ of garnishment must file a return. The judgment creditor should review the return carefully, especially if it is a default judgment, before proceeding with a garnishment judgment. The same rules that apply to citations also apply to returns in garnishment proceedings. In the past, returns have been found to be defective for not showing the manner of service on a corporate garnishee and the place of service.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
In order to garnish a bank account or other debt, the location of the account must be established and it must be confirmed that there are sufficient funds to make the process cost-effective. After this, an Application for Garnishment must be filed, along with a supporting affidavit. The affidavit, typically signed by the attorney representing the judgment creditor, should include the following details: a. Original suit and judgment information, including any credits applied to the judgment; b. The correct name of the garnishee and the contact information for the officers who may be served; and c. Account names and numbers, if available.
Busby and Associates can assist in collecting your judgment from Texas on a contingency basis. Other state judgments where the debtor is located in Texas are evaluated individually and may require a retainer. Additionally, Busby and Associates can assist in garnishing a bank account or financial institution within Andrews County; the county of the judgment debtor.