Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens in Angelina County, Texas
At Busby & Associates, we are equipped to handle all aspects of judgments, including defense, collection, and enforcement. Our primary area of collections is garnishing bank accounts and financial institutions, but we also assist clients in consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce matters, for both obligors and obligees under child support liens. Additionally, we can help with the domestication of foreign child support liens in the State of Texas. If you are a judgment creditor who is finding it hard to collect from a debtor, give us a call. We can guide you through the process and help you collect your judgment should the debtor reside in Angelina County, Texas.
Texas Judgment liens
A judgment lien is established by properly recording and indexing an abstract of judgment in Angelina County, which applies to all non-exempt real property of the judgment debtor within that county. The lien lasts 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 under appeal, steps can still be taken to establish a lien before the appeal. It’s important to note 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 creating an abstract of judgment can be carried out by either a judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, or the agent, attorney, or assignee of the judgment creditor. This rule does not apply to small claims and justice courts, where the judgment creditor is not permitted to prepare their own abstract. Additionally, abstracts of federal court judgments must have certification from the court’s clerk.
For a Texas abstract of judgment to be valid, it must include the following details: (1) the names of the plaintiff and defendant; (2) the defendant’s birthdate, if known to the clerk of justice; (3) the final three digits of the defendant’s driver’s license number, if available; (4) the final three digits of the defendant’s social security number, if available; (5) the suit number in which the judgment was rendered; (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 should also be noted that the abstract must include the mailing address for each plaintiff or judgment creditor, or a penalty fee will be imposed. Additionally, the abstract prepared by the creditor’s attorney must be checked and unsworn declarations are not acceptable.
Recording the abstract of judgment in Angelina County; where the debtor holds real property; is the duty of the county clerk. This entails filing it in the Angelina County’s real property records, noting the date and time of recordation, and including the names of the plaintiffs and defendants in the judgment and the page number in the records in the alphabetical index of the real property records. In Angelina County the County Clerk’s address is 215 East Lufkin Ave, Lufkin, Texas.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgments.
In accordance with the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, judgments entered under these acts are enforceable as if they were filed in the court where they were granted. Lien requirements must also be met by the holder of the foreign judgment seeking to domesticate it in Texas.
Property to Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
The judgment lien applies to any real property that the defendant owns in Angelina County; the county of recordation and is not exempt.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
- Non-governmental Judgments
The lien resulting from a judgment remains in effect for a decade after it is recorded and indexed, unless the judgment becomes dormant. To maintain the lien, it is necessary to both keep the judgment active and record a new abstract of judgment. A judgment is considered dormant if a writ of execution is not issued within 10 years of its rendition. It can be reactivated through scire facias or by filing an action of debt within two years of the judgment becoming dormant.
- State or State Agency Judgments.
A judgment from a state or state agency does not become invalid over time and can be enforced through a lien for 20 years from the date of filing an abstract of judgment. This lien can be extended for a further 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.
- Political Subdivisions.
Per the dormancy statutes, judgments made by political subdivisions may become dormant. But, the revival statute in Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006 does not limit the revival of these judgments. Thus, they can be revived at any time, not just within two years of dormancy.
- Child Support Judgments.
- 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code’s Subsection (c) specifies that judgments for child support are not subject to the dormancy statute and applies to all child support judgments.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
- Property Subject to Execution.
The property of the judgment debtor can be levied by execution unless it is protected by constitutional, statutory, or other legal exemptions. In most cases, cash, boats, collections, stocks, bonds, and airplanes are not considered exempt. Notably, corporations do not have any exempt property.
- Property Exempt from Execution.
Both families and single adults have certain property that is protected from execution, which includes: the primary residence, personal items with a value of up to $100,000 for families and $50,000 for single adults as outlined by statute, current wages earned for personal services (excluding child support payments), 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 plots held for sepulcher, property that the debtor has sold, mortgaged, or transferred in trust if the buyer, mortgagee, or trustee can provide alternative property to satisfy the execution, assets held in 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.
The post-judgment garnishment process allows a judgment creditor to examine any financial relationships between a debtor and a third party in order to uncover any funds or property owed to the debtor. Should these funds or assets be found, the creditor can then obtain a garnishment judgment, directing the third party to pay them to the creditor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment can be executed if the following conditions are met: a) The creditor has a valid and subsisting judgment against the debtor, b) The debtor has not filed an approved bond to suspend execution on the judgment, and c) The creditor has confirmed that, to their knowledge, the debtor does not have enough property in Texas that can be used to pay off the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
A post-judgment garnishment action is a distinct process from the main lawsuit it is meant to enforce. The garnishment action is considered supplementary to the main suit and 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, under a different cause number. For example, if the original suit was filed in the 245th judicial district court of Angelina County, Texas, the garnishment action should also be filed in Angelina County.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The writ of garnishment is to be served on the garnishee, while the judgment defendant is not a required party in the garnishment action. However, they must receive a copy of the writ, the application, accompanying affidavits, and court orders as soon as possible after the writ is served on the garnishee. Additionally, the copy of the writ given to the defendant must be in 12-point type, and written in a way that is easily understandable to a reasonably attentive person. Failure to give proper notice to the judgment debtor will render any judgment, other than one dissolving the writ, void.
Banks as Garnishees
Writs of garnishment delivered to banks must be sent to the registered agent’s address listed in the financial institution’s registration statement filed with the Secretary of State. This is according to Section 201.102 of the Finance Code, which states that out-of-state financial institutions must register with the Secretary of State and appoint an agent for the process. Section 201.103 also states that Texas financial institutions may file a statement with the Secretary of State appointing an agent for the process.
As per Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the individual charged with implementing a writ of garnishment must submit a return. It is essential for the judgment creditor to inspect this return before obtaining a garnishment judgment, particularly in cases of default judgment. The rules for citations also apply to returns in garnishment proceedings. Previously, defects in returns have been identified for failing to indicate the method of service on a corporate garnishee and the location of service.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
The process of garnishing a bank account or other debt begins with locating the account and determining that there are enough funds to make the process cost-effective. Once this has been established, an Application for Garnishment must be filed along with a supporting affidavit, typically signed by the attorney for the judgment creditor. The affidavit should include the following information: a. Details about the original suit and judgment, including any credits applied to the judgment; b. The correct name of the garnishee, as well as the names and addresses of the officers who may be served; and c. Account names and numbers, if available.
If you need help collecting your Texas judgment, Busby and Associates can assist you on a contingency basis and can also help you garnish a bank account or financial institution within Angelina County; the county of the judgment debtor. Judgments from other states where the debtor is located in Texas will be evaluated case-by-case, and may require a retainer.