Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Bexar County
Busby & Associates is a law firm that can help judgment creditors who are struggling to collect from a debtor in Bexar County. We have extensive experience in all areas 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 assist with the domestication of foreign child support liens in Texas. Give us a call and we’ll help you understand the process and take action to collect your judgment when your debtor lives in Bexar County, Texas.
Texas Judgment liens
A judgment lien is a type of lien that acts as a hold on all of the judgment debtor’s non-exempt real property within Bexar County, the county where it was recorded and indexed. The creation of a judgment lien requires the proper recording and indexing of an abstract of judgment, which must be filed in each county where the lien is sought. The lien remains effective for ten years from the date of recordation, provided that the judgment does not become dormant. It is important to note that the judgment on which the lien is based must be final, not interlocutory. An abstract of a final judgment can be filed even if the judgment is being appealed or a supersedeas bond has been filed. In such cases, if the judgment creditor has taken the necessary steps to obtain a lien before the judgment is appealed, the appeal will not negate the effectiveness of the lien in the event of an affirmance. These rules apply to Texas state trial court judgments, but not to the enforcement of other states’ or foreign judgments. To create a lien in such cases, the judgment must first be domesticated in Texas, and then it may be possible to abstract the judgment once the domestication is complete.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
According to Texas regulations, the process of creating an abstract of judgment can be done by 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. In those courts, the judgment creditor is not allowed to prepare their own abstract. It should be kept in mind that abstracts of federal court judgments require the clerk of the court’s certificate. In Bexar County, Texas you would abstract your judgment lien at the County Clerk’s office located at 100 Dolorosa St, San Antonio, Texas 78205.
To be considered valid, an abstract of judgment in Texas must show 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 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. Furthermore, it is crucial to note 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 verified and unsworn declarations are not acceptable.
Recording the abstract of judgment in Bexar County, where the debtor has real property is the duty of the county clerk. This process includes filing it in the Bexar County’s real property records, noting the date and time of recordation, and adding the names of the plaintiffs and defendants 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.
Under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, foreign judgments are enforceable 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 comply with the lien requirements as per these acts.
Property to Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
In Bexar 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
A judgment lien lasts for 10 years after it is recorded and indexed, unless the judgment becomes dormant. To preserve the lien, it’s necessary 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 scire facias or by filing an action of debt within two years of when the judgment gets dormant.
- State or State Agency Judgments.
A judgment from a state or state agency does not become inactive, and a properly filed abstract of judgment creates a lien for 20 years from the date of filing. This lien can be extended for a further 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment, maintaining the judgment’s enforceability over time.
- Political Subdivisions.
Dormancy statutes indicate that judgments issued by political subdivisions may become inactive. However, the statute of limitations in Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006 does not apply to these judgments, meaning they can be revived at any time, and not just within two years of dormancy.
- Child Support Judgments.
Child support judgments are not subject to the dormancy statute, as outlined 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.
The property of the judgment debtor can be levied by execution, unless it is protected by constitutional, statutory, or other legal exemptions. Typically, cash, pleasure boats, collections, financial instruments, and airplanes are not considered exempt property. However, corporations have no property that is considered exempt from execution.
- Property Exempt from Execution.
For both families and single adults, certain property is exempt from execution, which includes: the primary residence, personal possessions with a value of up to $100,000 for families and $50,000 for single adults as specified by statute, 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 held for sepulcher, property that the judgment debtor sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust if the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee can provide alternative property 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, and certain savings plans such as retirement benefits and health savings plans, college savings plans, and consigned artwork.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT
The post-judgment garnishment procedure provides a judgment creditor with the ability to look into the relationship between a third party and the judgment debtor and find out if there are any funds or property the third party owes to the judgment debtor. If the answer is yes, the creditor can get a garnishment judgment that orders the third party to pay the funds to the creditor instead of the judgment debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment can proceed if the following are present: a) The creditor holds a final and subsisting judgment against the debtor, b) The debtor has not taken steps to halt execution of the judgment through an approved supersedeas bond, and c) The creditor declares that, to their understanding, the judgment debtor does not have in their possession in Texas any property that is subject to execution to pay off the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
A post-judgment garnishment action is distinct from the main lawsuit it is intended to enforce. The garnishment action is supplementary to the main suit and should be brought against the third-party garnishee as the defendant. The court that issued the judgment to be collected should receive the post-judgment garnishment application. If the original suit was filed in the 245th judicial district court of Bexar County, Texas, the garnishment application must also be filed in that same court in Bexar County, but with a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The garnishee is the party that the writ of garnishment must be served upon, the judgment defendant is not mandatory 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 that is served on the defendant must include, in 12-point type and in a way that is clear to a reasonable person, the contents of the writ. Failure to give proper notice to the judgment debtor will render any judgment, other than one dissolving the writ, void.
Banks as Garnishees
In compliance with 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. This applies to out-of-state financial institutions, which must register with the Secretary of State and appoint an agent for the process, as well as Texas financial institutions, which may file a statement with the Secretary of State appointing an agent for the process.
As outlined in Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the individual charged with implementing a writ of garnishment must submit a return. It is crucial for the judgment creditor to review the return before obtaining a garnishment judgment, especially if it is a default judgment. The rules for citations also apply to returns in garnishment proceedings. Previously, returns have been deemed invalid for not mentioning the way in which a corporate garnishee was served and the location of service.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
The process of garnishing a bank account or other debt begins by identifying the account and determining that there are sufficient funds to make the process cost-effective. Once this is confirmed, an Application for Garnishment must be filed along with a supporting affidavit. The affidavit, usually signed by the attorney representing the judgment creditor, should contain the following details: a. Original suit and judgment information, including credits applied to the judgment; b. Exact garnishee name, specified agents for service, and service address, c. relevant account names and numbers if they can be obtained.
Busby and Associates can assist you in collecting your Texas judgment by working on a contingency basis. Judgments from other states where the debtor is located in Texas will be evaluated case-by-case and a retainer may be required. Furthermore, Busby and Associates can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution within Bexar County, the county of the judgment debtor.