Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Hamilton County, Texas
If you’re struggling to collect a judgment in Hamilton County, Texas, Busby & Associates is here to help. Our law firm is skilled in defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments, with a focus on garnishment of bank accounts and financial institutions. We also offer legal support for consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce matters, and we can assist both obligors and obligees with child support lien collections and defense, and domestication of foreign child support liens in Hamilton County, Texas. Let us help you navigate the legal process and collect what you are owed.
Texas Judgment liens in Hamilton County
In Hamilton County, any nonexempt real property owned by the judgment debtor can be subject to a properly fixed judgment lien. This type of lien is created by accurately recording and indexing an abstract of judgment in every county where the lien is desired. As long as the judgment remains active, the lien will remain in place for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing. However, the judgment must be final and not interlocutory to qualify for a lien. In the case of a final judgment under appeal or if a supersedeas bond has been filed, the creditor may still file an abstract. Additionally, if the creditor has taken the necessary steps to obtain a lien prior to the appeal, the appeal will not negate those steps in the event of an affirmance. These rules apply solely to Texas state trial court judgments and not to the enforcement of other state or foreign judgments. To create a lien, you must first domesticate the judgment in Texas, and only then can you file an abstract on the judgment.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
Texas has established clear guidelines for abstracting a judgment that must be followed closely. 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 Hamilton County, Texas, visit the County Clerk’s office located at 102 N Rice St, Hamilton, Texas 76531.
To create an effective abstract of judgment in Texas, it must contain certain details, 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 list the mailing address for each plaintiff or judgment creditor and be certified by the creditor’s attorney. Failure to provide the mailing address may result in a penalty filing fee, and unverified statements are not admissible.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
To enforce the judgment, it is mandatory to record the abstract of judgment in Hamilton County if the debtor owns real property there. The Hamilton County clerk receives the abstract and records it in the county’s real property records, noting the date and time of registration. Moreover, 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 foreign judgments have the same enforceability as judgments filed in the originating court. The foreign judgment holder must satisfy the lien requirements to domesticate the judgment in Texas.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
The defendant’s nonexempt real property recorded in Hamilton County is affected by the judgment lien, which is enforceable on all properties.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
When an abstract of judgment is recorded and indexed, a judgment lien endures for ten years, but it becomes dormant if no writ of execution is issued within that time, resulting in the termination of the lien. Therefore, to maintain the judgment lien, one must keep the judgment active 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.
The enforceability of state or state agency judgments remains intact and does not become dormant. An abstract of judgment that has been properly filed can establish a lien for 20 years from the date of filing, and the lien’s duration can be extended for an additional 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Judgments of political subdivisions can go dormant under dormancy statutes, but the political subdivision can revive the judgment at any time using the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006. Hence, the political subdivision is not precluded 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 § 34.001 Subsection (c) of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, which 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.
The execution can take over the judgment debtor’s property, except when it is protected by the constitution, statute, or any other legal rule. The following types of property are typically not protected: a. Cash on hand or in checking or savings accounts; b. Pleasure boats and their motors and trailers; c. Collections (stamps, coins, etc.); d. Investments such as stocks, bonds, or notes; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations have no exempt property.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
The following types of property are exempt from execution, regardless of whether the debtor is a single adult or part of a family: a) the homestead; b) various personal property categories outlined by law, up to a total fair market value of $100,000.00 for a family or $50,000.00 for an unmarried adult; c) current wages for personal services (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 for sepulcher; g) property sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust if the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee points out other property sufficient to satisfy the execution; h) assets in the hands of a spendthrift trust trustee for the benefit of the debtor; i) certain insurance benefits; j) specific savings plans, including retirement benefits and health savings plans; k) college savings plans; and l) certain consigned artwork.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
A judgment creditor can use the post-judgment garnishment procedure to examine if a third party owes any debts or property to the judgment debtor. 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
After obtaining a judgment, garnishment may be used if certain conditions are met. Firstly, the creditor must hold 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 declare that, to their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not hold sufficient property in Texas subject to execution to fulfill the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
Keep in mind that when pursuing post-judgment garnishment, it is a distinct legal action from the main case it intends to enforce. The third-party garnishee should be identified as the defendant, as it is an ancillary lawsuit. It should be filed in the same court that issued the judgment for collection, but under a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
Commencing a garnishment action requires serving the writ of garnishment on the garnishee, and the judgment defendant’s participation is not obligatory. Nevertheless, the defendant must receive 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 contain 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 give the judgment debtor property notice makes any judgment, except one that dissolves the writ, null and void.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
The designated address of the registered agent in the financial institution registration statement under Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code is the necessary location for delivering garnishment writs to garnishee banks. Out-of-state financial institutions must comply with the state’s foreign corporation laws, including appointing an agent for process under Section 201.102, by filing a registration application with the Secretary of State. Texas financial institutions may appoint an agent for process by filing a statement with the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.
Tex. R. Civ. P. 663 stipulates that the officer executing a writ of garnishment must provide a return that meets the citation criteria. Before pursuing a garnishment judgment, the judgment creditor should inspect the return, especially in cases of default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings are governed by the same rules as citations in general. Courts have rejected returns that do not specify the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Once you locate a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor that is subject to garnishment and it is financially feasible to pursue, you should file an Application for Garnishment with an affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney. The affidavit should contain important 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.
Are you struggling to collect a judgment in Texas? Busby and Associates can help you with their contingency-based services. For judgments from other states with the debtor in Texas, they evaluate each case individually and may require a retainer. In Hamilton County, they can assist you in garnishing a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount owed.