Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Caldwell County, Texas
When it comes to defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments, Busby & Associates is the law firm to turn to. Our main focus is on garnishing bank accounts and financial institutions, but we also provide legal services for consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce matters. We can assist both obligors and obligees with child support lien collections and defense, and domesticating foreign child support liens in Caldwell County, Texas. If you’re a judgment creditor struggling to collect from a debtor in Caldwell County, Texas, contact us, and we’ll help you recover what you’re owed.
Texas Judgment liens in Caldwell County
When an abstract of judgment is properly recorded and indexed, a judgment lien is established and applies to all nonexempt real property belonging to the judgment debtor in Caldwell County. To fix the lien, the abstract of judgment must be filed in every county where the judgment debtor has property. The lien lasts for 10 years from the date of recordation and indexing unless the judgment becomes dormant. For the lien to be valid, the judgment must be final, not interlocutory. If an appeal is pending or a supersedeas bond has been filed, an abstract of judgment may still be filed. In the event of an appeal, a creditor who has established a lien prior to the appeal can maintain the lien if the judgment is affirmed. These rules only apply to Texas state trial court judgments, and to enforce judgments from other states or foreign countries, the judgment must first be domesticated in Texas before an abstract can be filed.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
If you’re dealing with a judgment in Texas, it’s helpful to know who can prepare the abstract of judgment. In most cases, the judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, judgment creditor, agent, attorney, or assignee can prepare the abstract for judgments rendered in all but small claims and justice courts. However, small claims and justice court cases have different rules, and the judgment creditor is not allowed to prepare their own abstract. It’s also important to keep in mind that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. For those in Caldwell County, Texas, the County Clerk’s office at 1703 S Colorado St #1200, Lockhart, Texas 78644 is where you can go to abstract your judgment lien.
To properly document a judgment in Texas, it is necessary to provide an abstract that includes specific details. These details include the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the defendant’s birthdate (if available), the defendant’s driver’s license and social security numbers (if available), the suit number, the defendant’s address or citation information, the date the judgment was rendered, the amount of the judgment and balance due, any child support arrearage, and the interest rate. The abstract must also include the mailing address for each plaintiff or creditor, and it must be verified by the creditor’s attorney. Failing to include the mailing address will result in a penalty filing fee. Unverified declarations are not allowed.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
The abstract of judgment must be documented in Caldwell County if the debtor owns any real property there. The Caldwell County clerk receives the abstract and documents it in the county’s real property records. The clerk is required to note the precise time and date of recording on the abstract. Moreover, the clerk must enter the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, including the names of both the plaintiff and defendant and the page number where the abstract is recorded.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgment Liens.
Enforceability of foreign judgments is made possible under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, which permits such judgments to be enforced in a manner similar to local judgments. In Texas, the foreign judgment holder must adhere to the lien requirements when domesticating the judgment.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
Caldwell County is where the judgment lien attaches to every nonexempt real property owned by the defendant, as recorded in the county.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
After a judgment is recorded and indexed, the associated lien will persist for a period of 10 years, unless the judgment becomes dormant, in which case the lien will end. To avoid this, two things must be done: (1) the judgment must be kept active and (2) a new abstract of judgment must be acquired and recorded. A judgment becomes dormant if no writ of execution is issued within a decade of its creation, but it can be revived either through scire facias or by initiating a debt action within two years of its dormancy.
2. State or State Agency Judgments.
Properly filed abstracts of judgment can establish liens for 20 years from the date of filing, and the liens can be extended for another 20-year term by submitting a renewed abstract of judgment. State or state agency judgments don’t go dormant and remain enforceable during the lien’s life.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Although dormancy statutes may cause judgments of political subdivisions to become dormant, the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006, allows the political subdivision to revive the judgment. The statute of limitations will not prevent the political subdivision from reviving the judgment at any time, beyond the two-year dormancy period.
4. Child Support Judgments.
Subsection (c) to § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code provides an exemption for child support judgments from the dormancy statute, and this applies to all such judgments, irrespective of their date of issuance.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
If it is not protected by the constitution, statute, or any other rule of law, the property of the debtor under judgment can be seized by execution. Typically, the following forms of property are not exempt: a. Cash held or in savings or checking accounts; b. Pleasure boats and their motors and trailers; c. Collectibles like stamps or coins; d. Investments such as stocks, bonds, or notes; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations have no property that is exempt.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
Both families and single adults are exempt from execution of property in the following categories: a) the homestead; b) personal property of various categories specified by law, up to a total value of $100,000.00 for a family or $50,000.00 for a single adult without family ties; c) current wages for personal service (excluding child support payments) and unpaid commissions for personal service, up to 25% of the $50,000/$100,000 aggregate limit; d) health aids prescribed by a professional; e) worker’s compensation payments; f) cemetery lots held for the purpose of interring human remains; g) property sold, mortgaged or conveyed into trust by the judgment debtor, where the purchaser, mortgagee or trustee can identify other property that will satisfy the judgment; h) assets held in a spendthrift trust for the benefit of the debtor by a trustee; i) certain insurance benefits; j) certain savings plans, such as retirement benefits and health savings plans; k) college savings plans; l) consigned artwork meeting specific criteria.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT
One way for a judgment creditor to investigate if a third party owes any money or property to the judgment debtor is through a post-judgment garnishment. This process allows the creditor to obtain a garnishment judgment, directing the third party to pay the garnishor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
After a judgment, garnishment may be an option, but only if specific conditions are met. To start, the creditor must hold a valid and subsisting judgment against the debtor. The judgment is considered final and subsisting from the date of rendition. Secondly, the debtor cannot have filed an approved supersedeas bond to delay execution on the judgment. Lastly, the creditor must swear that, to their knowledge, the debtor does not possess enough property in Texas to satisfy the judgment through execution.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
Remember that a post-judgment garnishment is a separate legal action from the main cause it is intended to enforce. Since it is ancillary to the principal case, the third-party garnishee should be named as the defendant. It must be filed in the same court that issued the judgment to be collected, albeit with a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
For the garnishment to be effective, the garnishee must be served with the writ of garnishment. Although the judgment defendant is not a necessary party to the garnishment action, he or she must be provided with a copy of the writ, application, affidavits, and court orders after the garnishee has been served. The copy of the writ served on the defendant must contain the contents of the writ in a clear and conspicuous manner, using bold 12-point typeface. If the debtor does not receive the property notice, the court will consider any judgment, other than one dissolving the writ, invalid.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
The location for delivering writs of garnishment to banks must match the address provided as the registered agent’s address in the financial institution’s registration statement, as specified in Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code. Out-of-state financial institutions must comply with the laws of this state and register with the Secretary of State by designating an agent for process under Section 201.102. Texas financial institutions can appoint an agent for process by filing a statement with the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.
The return of a writ of garnishment must be made by the officer, in accordance with the rules for citations. As per Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, it is the responsibility of the judgment creditor to review the return before seeking a garnishment judgment, particularly in default cases. It is worth noting that returns in garnishment proceedings are subject to the same rules as citations. Courts have deemed returns to be invalid if they fail to indicate the method and location of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Once you’ve identified a bank account or other debt that can be garnished and determined that there are sufficient funds to make it worth pursuing, you can file an Application for Garnishment. This application must be accompanied by an affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney, which includes details about the original suit and judgment, the garnishee’s name and address, and any available account names and numbers.
If your judgment is from Texas, Busby and Associates might be able to assist you in collecting it on a contingency basis. However, if the judgment debtor is in Texas but the judgment is from another state, they will review it on a case-by-case basis and may require a retainer. In the case of a judgment debtor and/or judgment in Caldwell County, Busby and Associates can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution.