Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Brazoria County, Texas
Busby & Associates is a law firm that can help judgment creditors who are facing challenges in collecting from a debtor in Brazoria County. We specialize in all aspects of judgments, including defense, collection, and enforcement. Our main area of skills is 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 help you understand the process and take action to collect your judgment when your debtor lives in Brazoria County, Texas.
Texas Judgment liens
To secure a lien on the judgment debtor’s non-exempt real property in Brazoria County, the county of recordation, a judgment lien must be properly established. This is accomplished through the recording and indexing of an abstract of judgment, which must be filed in each county where the lien is intended to be effective. The lien lasts for ten years from the date of recording and indexing, as long as the judgment remains final. An abstract of judgment can be filed on a final judgment, even if it is being appealed or a supersedeas bond has been posted. A judgment creditor who takes the necessary steps to obtain a lien prior to the appeal will not lose the lien’s effect if the judgment is affirmed on appeal. These rules apply only to Texas state trial court judgments and not to enforcing judgments from other states or foreign countries. To create a lien for such judgments, they must first be domesticated in Texas and then the judgment can be abstracted.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
According to Texas regulations, the task of preparing an abstract of judgment can be handled by either a judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, or the judgment creditor’s agent, attorney, or assignee. However, this does not apply to small claims and justice courts, where the judgment creditor is not permitted to prepare their own abstract. Keep in mind that the certificate from the clerk of the court is required for abstracts of federal court judgments. In Brazoria County, Texas you would abstract your judgment lien at the County Clerk’s office located at 1524 E Mulberry St, Angleton, Texas 77515.
A Texas abstract of judgment must demonstrate the following information in order to be valid: (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. Furthermore, 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. Additionally, 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 Brazoria County, where the debtor owns real property. This includes filing it in the Brazoria County’s real property records, noting the date and time of recordation, and adding 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.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgments.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act establish that 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, and such holder must meet the lien requirements outlined in these acts.
Property to Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
All of the defendant’s real property that is not exempt in Brazoria County, the county of recordation is subject to the lien for the judgment.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
- Non-governmental Judgments
The lien resulting from a judgment remains valid for 10 years after it is recorded and indexed, unless the judgment becomes dormant. To keep the lien, one must take steps to both maintain the judgment and record a new abstract of judgment. A judgment is deemed dormant if no writ of execution is issued within 10 years of its rendition. The dormant judgment can be reactivated by filing an action of debt before the second anniversary of the judgment becoming dormant or by using scire facias.
- State or State Agency Judgments.
A judgment issued by a state or state agency does not expire 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 an additional 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment, ensuring the judgment remains valid and enforceable over time.
- Political Subdivisions.
As per the dormancy statutes, judgments issued by political subdivisions may become inactive. Nevertheless, the revival statute in Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006 does not restrict the revival of these judgments. Therefore, they can be reactivated at any time, and not just within two years of dormancy.
- Child Support Judgments.
- 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code’s Subsection (c) clarifies 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.
Execution can be used to collect on a judgment by taking the property of the judgment debtor, unless it is protected by constitutional, statutory, or other legal exemptions. Typically, cash, pleasure boats, collections, financial instruments, and airplanes are not exempt property. However, corporations have no exempt property that can be protected from execution.
- 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 allows a judgment creditor to investigate the connection between the judgment debtor and a third party with the aim of discovering any assets or funds owed to the judgment debtor by the third party. If such assets or funds exist, the judgment creditor can then obtain a garnishment judgment, which 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 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 attests that, to their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not own property in Texas that can be executed to pay off the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
To enforce a judgment, post-judgment garnishment is a separate legal action from the main lawsuit. The garnishment action is ancillary to the main suit and should be brought against the third-party garnishee as the defendant. The application for post-judgment garnishment must be submitted to the same court that issued the judgment to be collected. If the original case was filed in the 245th judicial district court of Brazoria County, Texas, the garnishment application should also be filed in Brazoria County, albeit with a distinct 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 mandatory 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. 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. If proper notice is not given to the judgment debtor, any judgment, other than one dissolving the writ, will be void.
Banks as Garnishees
The Finance Code Section 201.102 and 201.103 specifies that when serving writs of garnishment on garnishee banks, the address of the registered agent of the financial institution must be used. This is in line with Section 201.102, which states that out-of-state financial institutions must register with the Secretary of State and appoint an agent for the process, and Section 201.103, which allows Texas financial institutions to 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 executing a writ of garnishment must provide a return. It is essential for the judgment creditor to thoroughly inspect this return before proceeding with a garnishment judgment, particularly in cases of default judgment. The rules for citations also apply to returns in garnishment proceedings. Previously, returns have been deemed invalid for not mentioning the manner of service on a corporate garnishee and the place where it was served.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Before a bank account or other debt can be garnished, it is important to locate the account and confirm that there are sufficient funds to make the process cost-effective. Once this is established, 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 information: a. Details of the original suit and judgment, including any credits applied to the judgment; b. Accurate garnishee name, designated representatives for service, and service address, and c. relevant account names and numbers if obtainable.
If you have a judgment from Texas and need assistance in collecting it, Busby and Associates may be able to help on a contingency basis. Other state judgments where the debtor is located in Texas will be evaluated case-by-case, and may require a retainer. Additionally, Busby and Associates can assist you in garnishing a bank account or financial institution in Brazoria County, the county of the judgment debtor.