Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Fayette County, Texas
Busby & Associates is a legal firm that provides a wide range of services for defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments. We are skilled in garnishment of bank accounts and financial institutions, but we also offer 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 Fayette County, Texas. If you are a judgment creditor who needs help recovering a judgment from a debtor in Fayette County, Texas, contact us, and we will use our knowledge and experience to help you recover what you are owed.
Texas Judgment liens in Fayette County
An abstract of judgment that has been properly recorded and indexed can establish a judgment lien on all nonexempt real property owned by a judgment debtor in Fayette County. 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
Abstracting a judgment in Texas involves following certain guidelines set by the state. Typically, the abstract 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. Keep in mind that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Fayette County, Texas, you can visit the County Clerk’s office located at 246 W Colorado St, La Grange, Texas 78945.
When creating an abstract of judgment in Texas, certain information must be included for it to be legally binding, such as the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the defendant’s birthdate (if known), 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. Declarations that are not verified are not allowed.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
When the debtor has real property in Fayette County, the abstract of judgment must be documented in the same county. The Fayette County clerk receives the abstract and registers it in the county’s real property records, specifying the date and time of recording. The clerk must also include the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, displaying the names of the plaintiff and defendant and the page number where the abstract is recorded.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgment Liens.
Under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, foreign judgments have the same enforceability as judgments filed in the originating court. The foreign judgment holder must fulfill the lien requirements to domesticate the judgment in Texas.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
Fayette County, as the county of recordation, is where the judgment lien applies to all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
The validity of a judgment lien is for 10 years from the date of recording and indexing an abstract, unless it becomes dormant, in which case the lien ceases. Therefore, it is essential to keep the judgment alive and obtain and record a new abstract of judgment to maintain the lien. If a writ of execution is not issued within 10 years of the judgment’s 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.
Judgments made by the state or a state agency do not go dormant, which means they remain active and enforceable. Additionally, a properly filed abstract of judgment can establish a lien that lasts for 20 years from the date of filing, and the lien’s life can be extended for another 20 years by submitting a renewed abstract of judgment.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Dormancy statutes may cause judgments of political subdivisions to become dormant, but the political subdivision can revive the judgment using the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006, at any time. Consequently, 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.
All judgments for child support are exempted from the dormancy statute by Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code and this provision applies to all such judgments, whether they were made recently or in the past.
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 is subject to seizure by the execution. In most cases, the following categories 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 of items such as stamps, coins, etc.; d. Stocks, bonds, notes, and other investments; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations have no exempted property.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
In the event of an execution, the following categories of property shall be exempt regardless of whether the judgment debtor is a family or a single adult: a. The homestead b. Personal property of different categories identified by statute, not exceeding an aggregate fair market value of $100,000.00 for a family or $50,000.00 for a single adult who is not a family member c. Current earnings for personal services, with the exception of child support payments, and unpaid personal service commissions, limited to twenty-five percent (25%) of the $50/$100,000 aggregate limits d. Health aids prescribed by professionals e. Worker’s compensation payments; f. Cemetery plots reserved for burial purposes g. Property sold, mortgaged, or entrusted by the judgment debtor, provided that the buyer, mortgagee, or trustee identifies other property of the debtor sufficient to satisfy the execution h. Assets held by the trustee of a spendthrift trust for the judgment debtor’s benefit i. Certain insurance benefits; and j. Certain savings plans, such as retirement and health savings plans k. College savings plans l. Certain artwork consigned.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
A judgment creditor can use the post-judgment garnishment procedure to investigate if a third party has any outstanding debts or property owed to the judgment debtor. If any debts are discovered, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, directing the third party (garnishee) to pay funds to the garnishor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment is only available after obtaining a judgment if certain conditions are 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 prevent execution on the judgment. Finally, the creditor must affirm that, to their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not possess 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 an independent legal action from the main case it intends to enforce. The third-party garnishee should be named as the defendant, as it is an additional lawsuit. It should be filed in the same court that rendered the judgment for collection, but under a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
To commence a garnishment action, the garnishee must be served with the writ of garnishment, and the involvement of the judgment defendant is not mandatory. 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 presented in a way that an attentive person can comprehend. If the judgment debtor does not receive property notice, any judgment except one that dissolves the writ will be invalid.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
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 must 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 responsible for executing a writ of garnishment is obligated to file a return that meets the citation requirements. As per Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the judgment creditor must carefully review the return before pursuing a garnishment judgment, especially in default judgment cases. Returns in garnishment proceedings are subject to the same regulations as citations in general. Courts have invalidated returns that do not specify the manner and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Once you have found a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor that can be garnished and have 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 important 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.
Busby and Associates offers assistance for collecting judgments in Texas on a contingency basis. If the debtor is located in Texas but the judgment is from another state, they will evaluate it on a case-by-case basis and may require a retainer. For judgments in Fayette County, they can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount owed.