Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Freestone County, Texas
At Busby & Associates, we are dedicated to helping our clients defend, collect, and enforce judgments. We have a particular focus on garnishment of bank accounts and financial institutions, but we also offer legal support for consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce matters. In addition, we can assist both obligors and obligees with child support lien collections and defense, and domestication of foreign child support liens in Freestone County, Texas. If you are a judgment creditor struggling to collect from a debtor in Freestone County, Texas, contact us, and we will guide you through the process of recovering your funds.
Texas Judgment liens in Freestone County
To establish a judgment lien on all of a judgment debtor’s nonexempt real property in Freestone County, a proper recording and indexing of an abstract of judgment is required. The abstract must be filed in every county where the debtor owns property. The lien will remain valid for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing, unless the judgment becomes dormant. Only final judgments, not interlocutory ones, can be used as the basis for a lien. However, an abstract of judgment can still be filed on a final judgment being appealed or on which a supersedeas bond has been filed. If a creditor has taken the necessary steps to establish a lien before the judgment is appealed, those steps will remain effective in the event of an affirmation. These rules apply only to judgments from Texas state trial courts. To create a lien on a judgment from another state or foreign country, the judgment must first be domesticated in Texas before filing the abstract.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
To abstract a judgment in Texas, you must comply with certain rules and regulations. 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 allowed to prepare their own abstract. It’s important to note that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Freestone County, Texas, you can go to the County Clerk’s office located at 103 E Main St, Fairfield, Texas 75840.
An abstract of judgment in Texas must satisfy specific criteria to be legally binding, such as stating the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the defendant’s birthdate (if known), the defendant’s driver’s license and social security numbers (if known), 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. If the mailing address is missing, a penalty filing fee may be imposed. Unverified statements are not accepted.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
The abstract of judgment should be recorded in Freestone County if the debtor owns real property there. The Freestone County clerk receives the abstract and records 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, showing 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 allow foreign judgments to be enforced in the same way 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
The defendant’s nonexempt real property recorded in Freestone County is subject to the judgment lien, which applies to all properties.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
Following the recording and indexing of an abstract, a judgment lien continues for ten years, but it becomes dormant if a writ of execution is not issued within that time, causing the lien to cease. Therefore, it is essential to keep the judgment active and obtain and record a new abstract of judgment to maintain the lien. 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 they remain enforceable for the lien’s entire duration. 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 another 20 years.
3. Political Subdivisions.
The dormancy statutes may render judgments of political subdivisions inactive, but the political subdivision can bring the judgment back to life using the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006. This means that 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.
The provision in Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code excludes judgments for child support from the dormancy statute and applies to all such judgments, regardless of when they were made.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
Unless protected by the constitution, statute, or any other legal rule, the judgment debtor’s property is liable to be seized by the execution. Generally, the following types of property are not protected: 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 such as stocks, bonds, or notes; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations have no property that is protected.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
There are specific categories of property that are exempt from execution for a family or a single adult, including a. the homestead, b. personal property falling under certain categories as defined by law with a total fair market value cap of $100,000 for families and $50,000 for single adults, c. current wages and unpaid commissions for personal services up to 25% of the $50/$100,000 limit (except for child support payments), d. health aids prescribed by professionals, e. worker’s compensation payments, f. cemetery lots used for sepulchers, g. property that the debtor sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust, if the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee can point out other property belonging to the debtor that can satisfy the execution, h. assets held in trust for the debtor’s benefit, i. certain insurance and savings benefits, such as retirement benefits and health savings plans, j. college savings plans, and k. certain consigned artwork.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
The post-judgment garnishment is a legal mechanism that allows a judgment creditor to inquire into the relationship between a third party and the judgment debtor to determine if any funds or property are owed to the debtor. If any debts are found, 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
To proceed with garnishment following a judgment, specific conditions must be met. 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 suspend execution on the judgment. Finally, the creditor must declare that, to their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not have in their possession sufficient property subject to execution in Texas to satisfy the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
Remember that a post-judgment garnishment action is a distinct legal proceeding 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 submitted in the same court that delivered the judgment for recovery, but with a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
When starting a garnishment action, the writ of garnishment must be served on the garnishee, and the judgment defendant’s involvement is not necessary. 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 12-point typeface, bolded, and in a manner that is easy to comprehend for a reasonably attentive person. Failure to provide the judgment debtor with property notice invalidates any judgment, except one that dissolves the writ.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
To serve garnishment writs on garnishee banks, they 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 are required to file a registration application with the Secretary of State, adhering to 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 filing a statement with the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.
The officer responsible for executing a writ of garnishment must file a return that satisfies the citation rules, as per Tex. R. Civ. P. 663. Before obtaining a garnishment judgment, the judgment creditor must carefully review the return, particularly in cases of default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings are governed by the same regulations as citations in general. Courts have invalidated returns that do not specify the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
If you identify a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor that can be garnished and it makes financial sense to do so, you need to file an Application for Garnishment and supporting affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney. The affidavit should contain critical information, such as the original suit and judgment information, garnishee name, officers for service, and service address, as well as any available account names and numbers.
Busby and Associates can help you recover your Texas judgment on a contingency basis. For judgments from other states with the debtor in Texas, they evaluate each case individually and may require a retainer. In Freestone County, they can assist you with garnishing a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount owed.