Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Fort Bend County, Texas
Busby & Associates is a law firm that provides comprehensive 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 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 Fort Bend County, Texas. If you are a judgment creditor who is having trouble collecting a judgment from a debtor in Fort Bend County, Texas, contact us, and we will help you navigate the legal process and recover the funds you are owed.
Texas Judgment liens in Fort Bend County
The nonexempt real estate owned by a judgment debtor in Fort Bend County can be subject to a lien created through the proper recording and indexing of an abstract of judgment. 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. Only final judgments, not interlocutory ones, can form the basis of 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 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 certain guidelines established by the state. 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. Keep in mind that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Fort Bend County, Texas, you can visit the County Clerk’s office located at 301 Jackson St, Richmond, Texas 77469.
To ensure that an abstract of judgment is legally binding in Texas, specific details must be included, 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. Declarations that are not verified are not allowed.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
When the debtor has real property in Fort Bend County, the abstract of judgment must be recorded there. The Fort Bend County clerk receives the abstract and registers it in the county’s real property records, indicating 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 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 authorize foreign judgments to be enforced as if they were 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
Fort Bend County is where the judgment lien is attached to all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant and recorded in the county.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
A judgment lien remains in effect for 10 years after recording and indexing an abstract, but it becomes dormant if a writ of execution is not issued within that time, which ends the lien. Therefore, to maintain the judgment lien, one must keep the judgment active and obtain and record a new abstract of judgment. A dormant judgment can be revived through scire facias or a debt action filed within two years of dormancy.
2. State or State Agency Judgments.
State or state agency judgments do not become dormant and maintain their enforceability throughout the lien’s life. Additionally, a properly filed abstract of judgment can establish a lien that lasts for 20 years from the date of filing, and the lien can be extended for an additional 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Dormancy statutes may cause judgments of political subdivisions to become inactive, but the political subdivision can revive the judgment at any time using the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006. This means that the political subdivision is not restricted 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 and applies to 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 judgment debtor’s property. In most cases, the following kinds 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 (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 owned by a family or a single adult, certain types of property are exempt from execution. These 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, c) current wages for personal service (excluding child support payment) 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 sepulcher purposes, g) property that the judgment debtor sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust, provided that the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee identifies other sufficient property 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, such as retirement benefits and health savings plans, k) college savings plans, and l) certain consigned artwork.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
The post-judgment garnishment is a legal remedy available to a judgment creditor to examine the relationship between a third party and the judgment debtor to identify any funds or property owed to the debtor. If any debts are identified, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, requiring the third party (garnishee) to pay funds to the garnishor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Certain prerequisites must be met in order to use garnishment after obtaining a judgment. Firstly, the creditor must possess 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 suspend execution on the judgment. Finally, the creditor must affirm that, based on their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not have in their possession sufficient property subject to execution in Texas to fulfill 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 meant to enforce. As an additional lawsuit, the third-party garnishee should be named as the defendant. It should be filed in the same court that issued the judgment to be collected, but under a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The writ of garnishment is to be served on the garnishee to initiate a garnishment action, and the participation 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 possible 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 way that is easily understood by a reasonably attentive person. If the judgment debtor does not receive property notice, any judgment other than one that dissolves the writ will be void.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
Banks served with garnishment writs must be delivered to the address specified 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, 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 executing a writ of garnishment must file a return that satisfies the citation standards. The judgment creditor must review the return before pursuing a garnishment judgment, particularly in cases of default judgment, as mandated by Tex. R. Civ. P. 663. Returns in garnishment proceedings must adhere to the same regulations as citations in general. Courts have deemed returns to be invalid if they do not indicate the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
To garnish a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor, you must first locate the account and determine that it is financially viable to pursue. If so, you must file an Application for Garnishment, 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 and address for service, and any available account names and numbers.
Collecting a judgment in Texas can be difficult, but Busby and Associates can assist you 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. For judgments in Fort Bend County, they can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount owed.