Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Dallas County, Texas
Busby & Associates is a legal firm that provides services for defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments. Our primary focus is on garnishment of bank accounts and financial institutions, but we also offer legal assistance for consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce. Additionally, we provide assistance for both obligors and obligees with child support lien collections and defense, as well as domestication of foreign child support liens in Dallas County, Texas. If you are a judgment creditor who is struggling to collect a judgment from a debtor in Dallas County, Texas, contact us, and we will provide you with the guidance and support you need to recover the judgment.
Texas Judgment liens in Dallas County
In Dallas County, a properly recorded and indexed abstract of judgment can act as a lien on all nonexempt real property owned by a judgment debtor. To establish a lien, the abstract must be filed in every county where the debtor has property. The lien is valid for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing, subject to the judgment not becoming dormant. Only final judgments, not interlocutory ones, can be used to establish a lien. However, even if a judgment is being appealed or a supersedeas bond has been filed, an abstract of judgment can still be filed. If the creditor establishes a lien before the appeal, it remains valid even if the judgment is affirmed. These rules only apply to Texas state trial court judgments. To establish a lien through the abstract of a judgment from another state or foreign country, the judgment must first be domesticated in Texas before an abstract can be filed.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
Abstracting a judgment in Texas requires adherence to specific guidelines set by the state. Generally, the judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, judgment creditor, agent, attorney, or assignee can prepare the abstract for judgments rendered in most courts, except for small claims and justice courts where the judgment creditor is not allowed to prepare their own abstract. It is important to keep in mind that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Dallas County, Texas, you can go to the County Clerk’s office located at 500 Elm St, Dallas, Texas 75202.
A Texas abstract of judgment is only legally valid if it contains certain information, including 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 judgment creditor and be verified by the creditor’s attorney. Failure to include the mailing address will result in a penalty filing fee. Unverified declarations are not allowed.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
If the debtor has real property in Dallas County, the abstract of judgment must be documented in that same county. The Dallas County clerk receives the abstract and records it in the county’s real property records, specifying the date and time of recording. Additionally, the clerk must include the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, displaying the names of both the plaintiff and defendant and the page number where the abstract is recorded.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgment Liens.
Foreign judgments filed under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act can be enforced similarly to judgments filed in the court of origin. To domesticate a foreign judgment in Texas, the foreign judgment holder must meet the lien requirements.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
The judgment lien covers all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant and recorded in Dallas County, the county of recordation.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
Once an abstract is recorded and indexed, the judgment lien continues for 10 years, unless the judgment becomes dormant, which ends the lien. To maintain the judgment lien, two actions are required: (1) keep the judgment active and (2) obtain and record a new abstract of judgment. If no writ of execution is issued within 10 years of judgment creation, it becomes dormant, but it can be revived through scire facias or a debt action filed within two years of dormancy.
2. State or State Agency Judgments.
When it comes to state or state agency judgments, they remain active and enforceable without becoming dormant. A valid abstract of judgment can create a lien that lasts for 20 years from the filing date, and a renewed abstract of judgment can renew the lien for an additional 20 years.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Even though dormancy statutes can cause judgments of political subdivisions to become dormant, the political subdivision can revive the judgment at any time using the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006. Consequently, the political subdivision is not limited by the statute of limitations and can revive the judgment even after the two-year dormancy period.
4. Child Support Judgments.
Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code excludes child support judgments from the dormancy statute and covers all such judgments, irrespective of when they were issued.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
The execution can seize the judgment debtor’s property unless it is exempted by the constitution, statute, or any other legal rule. In most cases, the following types of property are not exempt: a. Cash on hand or in checking or savings accounts; b. Pleasure boats and their motors and trailers; c. Collections (such as stamps, coins, etc.); d. Investments (like stocks, bonds, or notes); e. f. Airplanes. Corporations do not have any exempt property.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
The law provides for certain property categories that are exempt from execution, whether the debtor is a family or a single adult. These categories include: a) the homestead; b) personal property of various categories specified by statute, up to an aggregate fair market value of $100,000.00 for a family or $50,000.00 for a single adult without family connections; c) current wages for personal service (excluding child support payments) and unpaid commissions for personal services, not exceeding 25% of the $50,000/$100,000 aggregate limitations; d) professionally prescribed health aids; e) worker’s compensation payments; f) cemetery lots held for sepulcher purposes; g) property sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust by the judgment debtor, if the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee can identify other property of the debtor sufficient to satisfy the execution; h) assets in the hands of the trustee of a spendthrift trust for the benefit of the judgment debtor; i) certain insurance benefits; j) specific savings plans, including retirement benefits and health savings plans; k) college savings plans; l) consigned artwork that meets the criteria specified by law.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
To determine if there are any funds or property owed to a judgment debtor by a third party, a judgment creditor may choose to use the post-judgment garnishment procedure. If any debts are found, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, which requires the third party (garnishee) to pay funds to the garnishor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment is only available after judgment under specific conditions. Firstly, the creditor must have a valid and subsisting judgment against the debtor, with the judgment being final and subsisting from the date of rendition. Secondly, the debtor must not have filed an approved supersedeas bond to halt execution on the judgment. Finally, the creditor must affirm that, as far as they know, the debtor does not have sufficient property in Texas that can be executed to fulfill the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
Remember that when filing for post-judgment garnishment, it is a separate legal action from the main case it intends to enforce. Since it is supplementary to the primary lawsuit, the third-party garnishee must be named as the defendant. It must be filed in the same court that issued the judgment to be collected, but with a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
To begin a garnishment action, the writ of garnishment must be served on the garnishee, and the participation of the judgment defendant is not mandatory. Nevertheless, the defendant must receive a copy of the writ, application, affidavits, and court orders as soon as possible after the garnishee has been served. The copy of the writ served on the defendant must contain the contents of the writ in bold 12-point typeface and in a manner that is easily comprehensible for a reasonably attentive person. Any judgment, except one that dissolves the writ, is void if the judgment debtor does not receive property notice.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
When delivering garnishment writs to garnishee banks, the registered agent’s designated address in the financial institution registration statement under Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code must be used. Out-of-state financial institutions must file a registration application with the Secretary of State and comply with the state’s foreign corporation laws, which require appointing an agent for process under Section 201.102. Texas financial institutions may appoint an agent for process by submitting a statement to the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.
Making a return that conforms to the citation rules is an obligation of the officer executing a writ of garnishment. Tex. R. Civ. P. 663 specifies that the judgment creditor must inspect the return before obtaining a garnishment judgment, especially if it is a default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings are subject to the same regulations as citations in general. Courts have rejected returns that do not specify how a corporate garnishee was served and where the service took place.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
If a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor that can be garnished is discovered and it is financially viable to do so, an Application for Garnishment must be filed. The application should be accompanied by an affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney, which should include relevant information such as the original suit and judgment details, the garnishee’s name, officers for service, and address for service, as well as any available account names and numbers.
Busby and Associates offers assistance for collecting Texas judgments on a contingency basis. For judgments from other states with the judgment debtor located in Texas, they evaluate on a case-by-case basis and may require a retainer. In the case of a judgment debtor and/or judgment in Dallas County, they can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution to recover the judgment amount.