1-281-DIVORCE (348-6723)

Harris County, Houston, Texas

Harris County

Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Harris County, Texas


If you are facing challenges in collecting a judgment in Harris County, Texas, Busby & Associates can help. Our attorneys are skilled in defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments, with a focus on garnishment of bank accounts and financial institutions. We also provide 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 Harris County, Texas. Let us help you collect what you are owed.

Texas Judgment liens in Harris County

Harris County judgment debtors can have their nonexempt real property put under a lien through proper fixing of a judgment lien. A judgment lien is created by recording and indexing an abstract of judgment properly, which must be filed in each county where the lien is to be fixed. The lien remains in effect for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing unless the judgment becomes dormant. To put a lien in place, the underlying judgment must be final and not interlocutory. If the judgment is being appealed or a supersedeas bond has been filed, an abstract can still be filed on a final judgment. In case of an appeal, if a creditor has taken the necessary steps to get a lien, the fact of appeal will not destroy the effect of such steps if the judgment is affirmed. These rules only apply to Texas state trial court judgments and do not pertain to other state and foreign judgments, which must first be domesticated in Texas to create a lien, followed by abstracting the judgment.

Texas Abstract of Judgment

To properly abstract a judgment in Texas, it is crucial to adhere to the state’s guidelines. In most courts, the abstract of judgment can be prepared by the judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, judgment creditor, agent, attorney, or assignee, with the exception of small claims and justice courts where the judgment creditor cannot prepare their own abstract. It is important to note that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Harris County, Texas, you can visit the County Clerk’s office at 7300 N Shepherd Dr, Texas 77091.


To be valid, a Texas abstract of judgment should contain certain details, including the plaintiff and defendant’s names, the defendant’s birthdate, if known, the last three digits of their driver’s license and social security numbers, the suit number, and the defendant’s address or the nature of citation and the date and place of service of citation. Additionally, it should show the date of the judgment, the amount rendered, the balance due, and any child support arrearages. Finally, the abstract must include the mailing address of each plaintiff or judgment creditor. If it does not, a penalty filing fee will be charged, and the abstract must be verified by the creditor’s attorney.


Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract

When the debtor possesses real property in Harris County, it is imperative to record the abstract of judgment there. The Harris County clerk receives the abstract and enters it in the county’s real property records, noting the date and time of entry. Additionally, the clerk must 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 guarantee that judgments filed under these Acts are as enforceable as judgments filed in the originating court. To domesticate a foreign judgment in Texas, the foreign judgment holder must satisfy the lien requirements.

Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property

The judgment lien is recorded in Harris County, and it encumbers all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant in the county.

Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive

1.      Non-governmental Judgments

When an abstract of judgment is recorded and indexed, a judgment lien remains effective for ten years, but it becomes dormant if a writ of execution is not issued within that period. Thus, it is imperative to keep the judgment active and obtain and record a new abstract of judgment to maintain the lien. A dormant judgment can be revived by scire facias or an action of debt filed within two years of dormancy.

2.      State or State Agency Judgments.

Judgments made by the state or a state agency do not lose their enforceability and remain valid throughout the lien’s duration. An abstract of judgment that has been properly filed can create 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.

Dormancy statutes can lead to political subdivisions’ judgments becoming inactive, but the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006, permits political subdivisions to revive the judgment 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.

Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code excludes judgments related to child support from the dormancy statute, covering all such judgments irrespective of their date of rendering.


Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.

1.      Property Subject to Execution.

The execution has the authority to confiscate the judgment debtor’s property, provided that it is not exempted by the constitution, statute, or any other legal rule. Typically, 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. Investments like stocks, bonds, or notes; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations have no exempt property.

2.      Property Exempt from Execution.

Property that falls under these categories is not liable for execution, whether for a family or a single adult: a. The primary residence b. Personal property of various types defined by statute, up to a total fair market value of $100,000.00 for a family or $50,000.00 for a single adult who is not part of a family c. Current earnings from personal services (except for child support payments) and unpaid service fees for personal services, 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 held for burial purposes g. Assets that the debtor sold, mortgaged, or transferred to a trustee, provided that the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee identifies other property belonging to the debtor that can fulfill the execution; h. Assets held by a trustee of a spendthrift trust for the judgment debtor’s benefit i. Specific insurance benefits; and j. Certain savings schemes, such as retirement benefits and health savings accounts k. College Savings Plans l. Specific artwork on consignment.

Harris County


A judgment creditor can take advantage of the post-judgment garnishment procedure to investigate if a third party owes any outstanding debts or property to the judgment debtor. If any debts are found, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, compelling the third party (garnishee) to pay funds to the garnishor instead of the debtor.

Requirements to Issue

Following a judgment, garnishment may be utilized only if certain conditions are met. Firstly, the creditor must possess 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 suspend execution on the judgment. Finally, the creditor must swear that, to their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not have enough property subject to execution in Texas to satisfy the judgment.

Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties

It’s essential to note that a post-judgment garnishment action is a distinct legal action from the main case it intends to enforce. The third-party garnishee should be named as the defendant since it is an ancillary lawsuit. It should be filed in the same court that issued the judgment for collection, but with a different cause number.


Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.

The garnishment process begins with the service of the writ of garnishment on the garnishee, and the judgment defendant is not a required participant. However, the defendant must receive 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 contain the contents of the writ in bold 12-point typeface and in a manner that is easily comprehensible for a reasonably attentive person. Failure to provide the judgment debtor with property notice renders any judgment, except for one that dissolves the writ, unenforceable.

Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment

For the delivery of garnishment writs to garnishee banks, the registered agent address provided in the financial institution’s registration statement under Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code must be utilized. Out-of-state financial institutions must file an application for registration with the Secretary of State, adhering to the state’s foreign corporation laws, which mandate the designation of an agent for process under Section 201.102. Texas financial institutions, however, have the option to appoint an agent for process by submitting a statement to the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.

Officer’s Return.

The officer assigned to execute a writ of garnishment must provide a return that complies with the citation requirements as stated in Tex. R. Civ. P. 663. It is recommended that the judgment creditor review the return before seeking a garnishment judgment, especially in cases of default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings are subject to the same regulations as citations in general. Courts have dismissed returns that do not state the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.

Forms for the form and Practical Procedure

When a bank account or another debt of the judgment debtor is discovered and it is cost-effective to garnish it, the next step is to file an Application for Garnishment. This application must include a supporting affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney, which contains information such as the original suit and judgment details, the garnishee’s name, officers for service, service address, and any available account names and numbers.

Are you having trouble collecting a judgment in Texas? Busby and Associates can help you with their no upfront cost contingency-based services. For judgments from other states with the debtor in Texas, they evaluate each case individually and may require a retainer. In Harris County, they can assist you in garnishing a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount owed.



Share this post

Related Posts

Michael Busby is a Houston divorce lawyer who has been in practice for over 20 years and appears daily in the Family Law Courts of Harris County and Fort Bend County Texas

Busby & Associates , have two Houston Offices, one in Chinatown, Houston Texas and another in Independent Heights, Houston, Texas. Michael Busby is Board Certified in Family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.