Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Hidalgo County, Texas
If you’re struggling to collect a judgment in Hidalgo County, Texas, don’t give up just yet. Busby & Associates is here to help. Our experienced attorneys are 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. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you collect what you are owed.
Texas Judgment liens in Hidalgo County
Properly fixed judgment liens can act as liens on all nonexempt real property owned by judgment debtors in Hidalgo County. A judgment lien can be created through the correct recording and indexing of an abstract of judgment, which must be filed in each county where the lien is sought to be fixed. As long as the judgment does not become dormant, the lien remains in effect for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing. However, the judgment on which the lien is based must be final, not interlocutory. In the event of an appeal or the filing of a supersedeas bond, an abstract can still be filed on a final judgment. If a judgment creditor has taken the necessary steps to obtain a lien before an appeal, the effect of such steps will not be nullified if the appeal is affirmed. These rules apply exclusively to Texas state trial court judgments and not to the enforcement of other states and foreign judgments, which require domestication in Texas prior to the creation of a lien and the filing of an abstract.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
Properly abstracting a judgment in Texas requires strict adherence 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, except for small claims and justice courts where the judgment creditor is not permitted to prepare their own abstract. Note that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Hidalgo County, Texas, you can visit the County Clerk’s office at 317 N Closner Blvd, Edinburg, Texas 78541.
A Texas abstract of judgment is a legal document that must include certain details to be considered valid. These details include the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the defendant’s birthdate (if available to the clerk of justice), the last three digits of their driver’s license and social security numbers (if available), the suit number, and the defendant’s address or the nature of citation and the date and place of service of citation. Additionally, the document must show the date the judgment was rendered, the amount for which it was rendered, and any balance due, including child support arrearages. The abstract must also include the interest rate specified in the judgment and the mailing address of each plaintiff or judgment creditor. Finally, the abstract must be verified by the creditor’s attorney and unsworn declarations may not be used.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
The abstract of judgment should be recorded in Hidalgo County if the debtor owns real property there. The Hidalgo 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, 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 grant foreign judgments the same enforceability as local judgments. When domesticating a foreign judgment in Texas, the foreign judgment holder must meet the lien requirements.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
The defendant’s nonexempt real property recorded in Hidalgo County is subject to the judgment lien, which encompasses all properties.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
A judgment lien remains valid for ten years after an abstract is recorded and indexed, but it becomes dormant if no writ of execution is issued within that period, and the lien expires. Thus, to preserve the lien, it is necessary to keep the judgment active and record a new abstract of judgment. A dormant judgment can be revived through scire facias or an action of debt filed within two years of dormancy.
2. State or State Agency Judgments.
The enforceability of state or state agency judgments does not lapse and remains valid for the lien’s entire lifespan. An abstract of judgment that has been properly filed can create a lien for 20 years from the filing date, and the lien can be extended for an additional 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Although dormancy statutes may lead to judgments of political subdivisions becoming dormant, the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006, allows political subdivisions to revive the judgment at any time. Therefore, the political subdivision is not barred by the statute of limitations and can revive the judgment beyond the two-year dormancy period.
4. Child Support Judgments.
The provision in § 34.001 Subsection (c) of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code creates an exemption for child support judgments from the dormancy statute and applies to all such judgments, regardless of when they were granted or issued.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
The execution is permitted to take possession of the judgment debtor’s property, subject to exemptions established by the constitution, statute, or other legal rule. Typically, the following types 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 protected property.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
Certain types of property are exempt from execution, whether for a family or for a single adult, and these include: a) the homestead, b) personal property of various categories specified by statute, up to $100,000 for a family or $50,000 for a single adult who is not a member of a family, c) current wages for personal service (excluding payment of child support) and unpaid commissions for personal services, not exceeding 25% of the aggregate limitations, d) professionally prescribed health aids, e) worker’s compensation payments, f) cemetery lots held for sepulcher purposes, g) property sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust by the judgment debtor if the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee points out other property of the debtor sufficient 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) certain 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 take advantage of the post-judgment garnishment process to determine whether a third party owes any debts or property to the judgment debtor. Upon discovering any debts, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, forcing the third party (garnishee) to pay funds to the garnishor instead of the debtor.
Requirements to Issue
To use garnishment after a judgment, specific prerequisites must be fulfilled. 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 declare that, to their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not hold sufficient property subject to execution in Texas to fulfill the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
A post-judgment garnishment action is an independent legal suit from the main case it intends to enforce. As an additional lawsuit, the third-party garnishee should be designated as the defendant. It should be filed in the same court that rendered the judgment to be collected, but under a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
To initiate the garnishment process, the writ of garnishment is served on the garnishee, and the judgment defendant is not required to participate. 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. If the judgment debtor does not receive property notice, any judgment, except for one that dissolves the writ, is considered invalid.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
For the successful delivery of garnishment writs to garnishee banks, it is necessary to utilize the address designated as the registered agent of the financial institution in its registration statement under Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code. Out-of-state financial institutions must file an application for registration with the Secretary of State and follow the state’s foreign corporation laws, which require the designation of an agent for process under Section 201.102. Texas financial institutions, however, may appoint an agent for process by submitting a statement to the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.
According to Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the officer tasked with executing a writ of garnishment must provide a return that meets the citation requirements. It is recommended for the judgment creditor to review the return carefully before seeking a garnishment judgment, 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 indicate the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Once you discover a bank account or another debt belonging to the judgment debtor that can be garnished and it is financially advantageous to do so, file an Application for Garnishment with a supporting 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, service address, and any available account names and numbers.
Having trouble collecting a judgment in Texas? Busby and Associates can assist you with their contingency-based services, which means you pay nothing upfront. For judgments from other states with the debtor in Texas, they evaluate each case individually and may require a retainer. In Hidalgo County, they can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount owed.