Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from El Paso County, Texas
Busby & Associates is a law firm that is skilled in defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments. Our primary focus is on garnishment of bank accounts and financial institutions, but we also provide legal support 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 El Paso County, Texas. If you are a judgment creditor who is having trouble recovering a judgment from a debtor in El Paso County, Texas, contact us, and we will guide you through the legal process to help you collect what you are owed.
Texas Judgment liens in El Paso County
Any nonexempt real estate owned by a judgment debtor in El Paso County can be the subject of a lien if an abstract of judgment is properly recorded and indexed. The abstract must be filed in each county where the debtor has property. The lien remains valid for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing unless the judgment becomes dormant. A lien can only be established based on a final judgment, not an interlocutory one. However, even if a judgment is being appealed or a supersedeas bond has been filed, an abstract of judgment can still be filed. If a creditor establishes a lien before the appeal, it remains valid even if the judgment is affirmed. These regulations apply only to judgments from Texas state trial courts. To establish a lien using 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
In Texas, abstracting a judgment requires following specific guidelines. Generally, 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 allowed to prepare their own abstract. It should be noted that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in El Paso County, Texas, you can visit the County Clerk’s office located at 500 E San Antonio Ave # 105, El Paso, Texas 79901.
When creating an abstract of judgment in Texas, it must contain specific information to be considered valid, such as 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 may result in a penalty filing fee. Unverified declarations are not accepted.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
When the debtor has real property in El Paso County, the abstract of judgment must be registered in the same county. The El Paso County clerk receives the abstract and documents it in the county’s real property records, noting the date and time of recording. Additionally, the clerk must enter 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.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act ensure that judgments filed under the Acts have the same enforceability as judgments filed in the originating court. To domesticate a foreign judgment in Texas, the foreign judgment holder must fulfill the lien requirements.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
El Paso County is where the judgment lien takes effect on all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant and registered in the county.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
A judgment lien lasts for a decade from the date of recording and indexing an abstract, but it becomes dormant if no writ of execution is issued within that time, which ends the lien. To maintain the judgment lien, one must keep the judgment active and obtain and record a new abstract of judgment. The judgment can be revived by scire facias or a debt action brought not later than two years after it becomes dormant.
2. State or State Agency Judgments.
State or state agency judgments do not become dormant, which means 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’s life for an additional 20 years.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Dormancy statutes may cause judgments of political subdivisions to become inactive, but the political subdivision can revive the judgment using the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006, at any time. Therefore, the political subdivision is not restricted by the statute of limitations and can revive the judgment even beyond the two-year dormancy period.
4. Child Support Judgments.
Child support judgments are exempted from the dormancy statute under Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, which covers all such judgments, whether recent or old.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
Unless otherwise exempted by the constitution, statute, or any other legal rule, the execution can seize the property of the judgment debtor. In most cases, the following kinds of property are not exempted: a. Cash on hand or in checking or savings accounts; b. Pleasure boats and their motors and trailers; c. Collections (stamps, coins, etc.); d. Stocks, bonds, notes, and other investments; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations have no property that is exempted.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
Irrespective of whether it is for a family or a single adult, certain categories of property are exempt from execution, which includes: a) the homestead, b) personal property of specific categories as defined by statute, up to the aggregate fair market value of $100,000.00 for a family or $50,000.00 for a single adult, c) current wages for personal service (excluding child support) and unpaid commissions for personal services, not exceeding twenty-five percent (25%) of the $50/$100,000 aggregate limitations, d) professionally prescribed health aids, e) worker’s compensation payments, f) cemetery lots held for the purposes of sepulcher, g) property that the judgment debtor sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust if the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee points out 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) certain savings plans including retirement benefits and health savings plans, k) college savings plans, and l) certain consigned artwork.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
When a judgment creditor suspects that a third party owes funds or property to the judgment debtor, they can use the post-judgment garnishment procedure to investigate. If any debts are identified, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, which orders the third party (garnishee) to pay funds to the garnishor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
In order to proceed with garnishment following a judgment, several conditions must be met. Firstly, the creditor must have a valid and subsisting judgment against the debtor, with the judgment being deemed 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, to their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not possess adequate property in Texas that can be executed to fulfill the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
It’s important to note that a post-judgment garnishment action is an independent legal proceeding from the primary case it seeks to enforce. The third-party garnishee should be named as the defendant, as it is an ancillary lawsuit. It should be filed in the same court that rendered the judgment for recovery, but with a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
In order to initiate a garnishment action, the garnishee must be served with the writ of garnishment, and the judgment defendant’s participation is not mandatory. However, the defendant must be served with 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 be in 12-point typeface and presented in a way that an attentive person can understand. If the judgment debtor does not receive property notice, any judgment other than one that dissolves the writ will be invalid.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
In order to serve garnishment writs on banks, 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 must be utilized. Out-of-state financial institutions are required to file a registration application with the Secretary of State, complying with the state’s foreign corporation laws, which includes designating an agent for process under Section 201.102. Texas financial institutions have the option to appoint an agent for process by submitting a statement to the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.
The officer tasked with executing a writ of garnishment must provide a return that satisfies the citation rules. Tex. R. Civ. P. 663 instructs the judgment creditor to examine the return before pursuing a garnishment judgment, particularly in default judgment cases. Returns in garnishment proceedings are governed by the same regulations as citations in general. Courts have held returns to be invalid if they do not specify the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
In order to garnish a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor, you must first locate the account and determine that it is worth pursuing. If so, you must file an Application for Garnishment, supported by an affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney. The affidavit should include crucial details such as the original suit and judgment information, the garnishee’s name, officers for service, and address for service, as well as any available account names and numbers.
If you’re having trouble collecting a judgment from Texas, Busby and Associates can help you do it on a contingency basis. Judgments from other states with the debtor located in Texas are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may require a retainer. If the debtor and/or judgment is in El Paso County, they can assist you in garnishing a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount owed.