Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens in Armstrong County, Texas
If you’re a judgment creditor and having trouble collecting from a debtor, Busby & Associates can assist. We specialize in all aspects of judgments, 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 explain the process and take action to collect your judgment when the debtor resides in Armstrong County, Texas.
Texas Judgment liens
An abstract of judgment filed and indexed in Armstrong County creates a lien on all non-exempt real property of the judgment debtor within Armstrong County. The lien remains in effect for ten years, unless the judgment becomes dormant. For a judgment lien to be valid, the underlying judgment must be final and not interlocutory. Even if a judgment is under appeal, actions to create a lien can still be taken before the appeal. Please note that these rules only apply to Texas state trial court judgments, not to judgments from other states or foreign countries, which must first be domesticated in Texas to establish a lien.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
Texas regulations state that either a judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, or the judgment creditor’s agent, attorney, or assignee can prepare an abstract of judgment for judgments rendered in all but small claims and justice courts. In those courts, the judgment creditor is not allowed to prepare their own abstract. It’s also important to note that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court.
To be valid, an abstract of judgment in Texas must show the following: (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 should be noted that the mailing address for each plaintiff or judgment creditor must be included, or a penalty fee will be imposed. In addition, the abstract prepared by the creditor’s attorney must be verified, and declarations that are not sworn are unacceptable.
In order to ensure that the abstract of judgment is recorded in Armstrong County (where the debtor holds real property), the county clerk must file it in the Armstrong County’s real property records and document the date and time of recordation. Additionally, the clerk must add the names of all parties involved in the judgment, as well as the page number in the records where the abstract is recorded, to the alphabetical index of the real property records. In Armstrong County, you would record your judgment with the County Clerk whose street address is 100 Trice Street and Mailing address is P.O. Box 309 Claude, Texas 79019.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgments.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act provide that judgments filed under these acts are enforceable in the same way as judgments filed in the court where they were granted. Additionally, domesticating a foreign judgment in Texas requires the holder to meet the lien requirements as outlined in these acts.
Property to Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
Any real property in Armstrong County; the county of recordation that is not exempt and belongs to the defendant is subject to the judgment lien.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
- Non-governmental Judgments
A judgment lien lasts for a decade after the date of recording and indexing the abstract, unless the judgment becomes dormant. To preserve the lien, steps must be taken to both keep the judgment active and record a new abstract of judgment. A judgment becomes dormant if no writ of execution is issued within 10 years of its rendition. The dormant judgment can be brought back to life by either filing an action of debt within two years of the judgment becoming dormant or by using scire facias.
- State or State Agency Judgments.
State or state agency judgments do not become obsolete, and a properly filed abstract of judgment creates a lien that can be enforced for 20 years from the date of filing. The lien can be extended for another 20-year period by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.
- Political Subdivisions.
Judgments made by political subdivisions may become dormant per the dormancy statutes. But, it is important to note that the statute of limitations outlined in Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006 does not apply to these judgments. Therefore, they can be revived at any point in time, not just within two years of dormancy.
- Child Support Judgments.
The dormancy statute does not apply to child support judgments, as stated in 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.
Execution can be used to seize the property of the judgment debtor, unless it is protected by constitutional, statutory, or other legal exemptions. Generally, cash, pleasure boats, collections, financial investments, and airplanes are not considered exempt. Notably, corporations have no exempt property.
- Property Exempt from Execution.
For both families and single adults, certain property is protected from execution, including: the primary residence, personal property up to a value of $100,000 for families or $50,000 for single adults as stated in law, wages earned for personal services (excluding 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 plots for burial, property that the judgment debtor 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
Through the post-judgment garnishment procedure, a judgment creditor can investigate any connections between the debtor and a third party, with the aim of identifying any funds or property owed to the debtor. If such funds or assets are located, the creditor can then obtain a garnishment judgment, requiring the third party to pay them to the creditor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment can proceed if the creditor holds a valid and subsisting judgment against the debtor and the debtor has not filed an approved supersedeas bond to halt execution on the judgment and the creditor confirms, to the best of their knowledge, that 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
Enforcing a judgment through post-judgment garnishment is a distinct legal process from the main lawsuit. The garnishment action is 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 issued, but with a different cause number. For instance, if the original suit was filed in the 245th judicial district court of Armstrong County, Texas, the garnishment action should also be filed in Armstrong 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 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. It is also crucial to ensure that the copy of the writ provided to the defendant includes 12-point type, and is clear enough for a reasonably attentive person to understand its contents. If notice is not given to the judgment debtor, any judgment except for one that dissolves the writ will be void.
Banks as Garnishees
In accordance with Sections 201.102 and 201.103 of the Finance Code, the address of the registered agent for financial institutions must be used when serving writs of garnishment on banks. Out-of-state financial institutions must comply with the laws of this state for foreign corporations doing business in this state and file an application for registration with the Secretary of State, while Texas financial institutions may file a statement with the Secretary of State appointing an agent for the process.
In accordance with Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the officer responsible for carrying out a writ of garnishment must file a return. Before obtaining a garnishment judgment, the judgment creditor should examine this return closely, especially if it is a default judgment. The rules for citations also apply to returns in garnishment proceedings. In the past, returns have been found to be defective for not specifying the way in which a corporate garnishee was served and the location of service.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Once the location of a bank account or other debt subject to garnishment has been determined and it is deemed cost-effective due to the presence of sufficient funds, an Application for Garnishment must be filed along with a supporting affidavit. Typically, the attorney representing the judgment creditor will sign the affidavit, which should include the following information: a. Details of 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 have a judgment from Texas and need help collecting it, Busby and Associates may be able to assist you on a contingency basis. Judgments from other states where the debtor is located in Texas will be evaluated individually and may require a retainer. Additionally, Busby and Associates can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution within Armstrong County; the county of the judgment debtor.