Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Bell County, Texas
If you’re a judgment creditor and unable to collect from a debtor in Bell County, Texas, Busby & Associates is here to help. We offer a full range of legal services related to judgments, including defense, collection, and enforcement. Our main area of abilities 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. Give us a call and we’ll guide you through the process and help you collect your judgment when your debtor lives in Bell County, Texas.
Texas Judgment liens
A judgment lien is a form of lien that holds onto the judgment debtor’s non-exempt real property in the Bell County, where it was recorded and indexed. The process of creating a judgment lien involves the proper recording and indexing of an abstract of judgment, which must be filed in every county where the lien is sought to be fixed. The lien remains effective for ten years from the date of recordation, unless the judgment becomes dormant. It is crucial to remember that the judgment on which the lien is based must be final, not interlocutory. The filing of an abstract of a final judgment can be done even if the judgment is being appealed or a supersedeas bond has been filed. In these situations, if the judgment creditor has taken the necessary steps to obtain the lien prior to the appeal of the judgment, the appeal will not affect the effectiveness of the lien if it is affirmed. These rules are applicable to Texas state trial court judgments and do not pertain to the enforcement of other states’ or foreign judgments. In such cases, the judgment must first be domesticated in Texas, and once that is completed, the judgment may be abstracted.
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. However, this rule does not apply to small claims and justice courts, where the judgment creditor is not permitted to prepare their own abstract. The requirement of the certificate from the court’s clerk should be noted for abstracts of federal court judgments. In Bell County, Texas you would abstract your judgment lien at the County Clerk’s office located at 1201 Huey Rd, Belton, Texas 76513.
A valid abstract of judgment in Texas must contain the following information: (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. Additionally, it is important to note that the abstract must include the mailing address for each plaintiff or judgment creditor, or a penalty fee will be imposed. Furthermore, the abstract prepared by the creditor’s attorney must be verified and unsworn declarations are not acceptable.
The county clerk is responsible for recording the abstract of judgment in Bell County (where the debtor owns real property). This process includes filing it in the Bell County’s real property records, noting the date and time of recordation, and adding the names of all parties involved in the judgment and the page number in the records where the abstract is recorded to the alphabetical index of the real property records.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgments.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act provide that foreign judgments, when filed under these acts, 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 as outlined in these acts.
Property to Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
In Bell County (the county of recordation), the judgment lien attaches to all real property that the defendant owns and is not protected by exemptions.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
- Non-governmental Judgments
The lien established by a judgment remains in effect for 10 years after it is recorded and indexed, unless the judgment becomes dormant. To maintain the lien, one must take steps to both keep the judgment active and record a new abstract of judgment. If no writ of execution is issued within 10 years of the judgment’s rendition, the judgment becomes dormant. The dormant judgment can be reactivated by either scire facias or by filing an action of debt before the second anniversary of the judgment getting dormant.
- State or State Agency Judgments.
A state or state agency’s judgment is enforceable for a period of 20 years from the date of filing an abstract of judgment, which can be extended for an additional 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment, ensuring that the judgment remains valid and enforceable over time.
- Political Subdivisions.
According to the dormancy statutes, judgments issued by political subdivisions may become dormant. But, the revival statute in Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006 allows for these judgments to be reactivated at any point, regardless of the dormancy period.
- Child Support Judgments.
Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code states that child support judgments are exempt from the dormancy statute and applies to all child support judgments.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
- Property Subject to Execution.
Execution can be used to collect on a judgment by seizing the property of the judgment debtor, unless it is protected by constitutional, statutory, or other legal exemptions. Common examples of non-exempt property include cash, boats, collections, stocks, bonds, and airplanes. It’s important to note that corporations do not have any property that is considered exempt.
- Property Exempt from Execution.
Both families and single adults have certain property that is protected from execution, including: the primary residence, personal property up to a value of $100,000 for families and $50,000 for single adults as outlined by law, 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
Post-judgment garnishment is a tool available to a judgment creditor to investigate the link between a third party and the judgment debtor in order to determine if there are any funds or property owed to the judgment debtor by the third party. If the answer is yes, the creditor can then receive a garnishment judgment, which directs the third party to pay the funds to the creditor instead of the judgment debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment can take place only if the following conditions are met: a) The creditor holds a valid and subsisting judgment against the debtor, b) The debtor has not filed an approved bond to suspend execution of the judgment, and c) The creditor states under oath that, to the best of their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not own enough property in Texas that can be seized to fulfill the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
In a post-judgment garnishment, the action taken is distinct from the main lawsuit it is enforcing. 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 needs to be filed in the court that gave the judgment to be collected. For example, if the original suit was filed in the 245th judicial district court of Bell County, Texas, the garnishment application must be filed in that same court in Bell County, but under a new cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The writ of garnishment must be delivered to the garnishee, while the judgment defendant is not required to be involved 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 garnishee has been served. It is also crucial to ensure that the copy of the writ provided to the defendant is in 12-point type and written in a way that is clear to a reasonably attentive person. Failure to give notice to the judgment debtor will make any judgment, other than one dissolving the writ, void.
Banks as Garnishees
According to Section 201.102 and 201.103 of the Finance Code, the address of the registered agent of a financial institution, as listed in its registration statement filed with the Secretary of State, must be used when serving writs of garnishment on garnishee 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.
According to Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the officer tasked with executing a writ of garnishment must file a return. The judgment creditor should examine the return carefully, particularly in cases of 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 specifying the method of service on a corporate garnishee and the place of service.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
To garnish a bank account or other debt, the location of the account must be identified 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 for the judgment creditor, should include the following information: a. Details of the original suit and judgment, including any credits applied to the judgment; b. Proper garnishee name, officers designated for service, and address for service of process, and c. available account names and numbers if feasible.
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 the bank account or financial institution of the judgment debtor within Bell County.