Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from DeWitt County, Texas
At Busby & Associates, we are skilled in providing legal 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 matters. We can assist both obligors and obligees with child support lien collections and defense, as well as domestication of foreign child support liens in DeWitt County, Texas. If you are a judgment creditor who needs help collecting a judgment from a debtor in DeWitt County, Texas, call us, and we will work with you to create a personalized plan to recover your judgment.
Texas Judgment liens in DeWitt County
A lien on all nonexempt real property of a judgment debtor in DeWitt County can be created by properly recording and indexing an abstract of judgment. 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 rules and regulations set by the state. Typically, the abstract of judgment can be prepared by the judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, judgment creditor, agent, attorney, or assignee for judgments rendered in most courts, except for small claims and justice courts where the judgment creditor is not permitted to prepare their own abstract. It is important to note that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in DeWitt County, Texas, you can go to the County Clerk’s office at 102 N Clinton St Suite 130, Cuero, Texas 77954.
To ensure the validity of a Texas abstract of judgment, certain information must be present, 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. Omission of the mailing address will result in a penalty filing fee. Declarations that are not verified are not permitted.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
If the debtor possesses real estate in DeWitt County, the abstract of judgment must be documented in that county. The DeWitt County clerk receives the abstract and records it in the county’s real property records, noting the date and time of recording. Furthermore, the clerk must enter the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, showing the names of both the plaintiff and defendant and the page number where the abstract is recorded.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgment Liens.
Judgments filed pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act have the same enforceability as judgments filed in the originating court. To domesticate a foreign judgment in Texas, the foreign judgment holder must comply with the lien requirements.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
The defendant’s nonexempt real property recorded in DeWitt County is affected by the judgment lien, which applies to all properties.
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.
Dormancy does not apply to state or state agency judgments, meaning they remain enforceable. A properly filed abstract of judgment can establish a lien that lasts for 20 years from the date of filing, and a renewed abstract of judgment can extend the lien for an additional 20 years.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Dormancy statutes may cause judgments of political subdivisions to go dormant, but the political subdivision can revive the judgment at any time using the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006. Thus, the political subdivision is not precluded by the statute of limitations from reviving the judgment beyond the two-year dormancy period.
4. Child Support Judgments.
The exception to the dormancy statute for child support judgments is outlined in Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, which covers all such judgments, irrespective of when they were issued.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
Unless exempted by the constitution, statute, or any other legal rule, the property of the judgment debtor can be seized by the execution. In most cases, the following categories 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 of items such as stamps, coins, etc.; d. Investments like stocks, bonds, or notes; e. f. Airplanes. There is no exempt property for corporations.
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.
A judgment creditor can use the post-judgment garnishment procedure to determine if a third party has any outstanding debts or property owed to the judgment debtor. If any debts are found, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, compelling the third party (garnishee) to pay funds to the garnishor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Certain requirements must be met to utilize garnishment after a judgment. Firstly, the creditor must hold a valid and subsisting judgment against the debtor, with the judgment being considered 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 verify that, based on their knowledge, the debtor does not have sufficient property in Texas that can be executed to satisfy the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
A post-judgment garnishment action is a separate legal suit from the main case it is intended to enforce. As an additional lawsuit, the third-party garnishee must be identified as the defendant. It should be submitted in the same court that delivered the judgment to be collected, but under a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The garnishment action requires the garnishee to be served with the writ of garnishment, and the judgment defendant’s involvement is not compulsory. However, the defendant must be served with a copy of the writ, application, affidavits, and court orders as soon as practical after the garnishee has been served. The copy of the writ served on the defendant must include the contents of the writ in bold 12-point typeface and in a manner that is easily understood by a reasonably attentive person. Failure to provide notice of property to the judgment debtor invalidates any judgment, except one that dissolves the writ.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
Garnishment writs served on banks must be sent to the address designated as the registered agent’s location in the financial institution registration statement under Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code. Out-of-state financial institutions must file a registration application with the Secretary of State in compliance with the state’s foreign corporation laws, including designating 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.
The officer executing a writ of garnishment is obliged to submit a return that adheres to the citation rules. As per Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the judgment creditor must inspect the return before obtaining a garnishment judgment, particularly in cases of default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings are subject to the same regulations as citations in general. Courts have rejected returns that do not specify the method and location of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Once you have located a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor that can be garnished and determined that it is worth pursuing, you must file an Application for Garnishment, along with an affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney. The affidavit should include essential 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.
If you’re looking to collect a Texas judgment, Busby and Associates may be able to help on a contingency basis. For judgments from other states with the debtor located in Texas, they evaluate it on a case-by-case basis and may require a retainer. If the debtor and/or judgment is in DeWitt County, they can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount.