Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Houston County, Texas
If you’re struggling to collect a judgment in Houston County, Texas, Busby & Associates is here to provide the legal support you need. Our experienced 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 Houston County, Texas. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you collect what you are owed.
Texas Judgment liens in Houston County
To secure a judgment lien on all nonexempt real property in Houston County, it must be properly fixed. Creating a judgment lien involves accurately recording and indexing an abstract of judgment in each county where the lien is sought to be fixed. The lien is valid for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing, provided that the judgment remains active. To fix a judgment lien, 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. If the creditor has taken the necessary steps to obtain a lien before the judgment is appealed, the appeal will not invalidate the lien in the event of affirmance. These rules only apply to Texas state trial court judgments, and to enforce judgments from other states and foreign countries, they must first be domesticated in Texas to create a lien and then file an abstract.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
In Texas, abstracting a judgment requires strict adherence to the state’s guidelines. 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. Note that abstracts of federal court judgments require certification from the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Houston County, Texas, you can visit the County Clerk’s office at 401 E Houston Ave 1st Floor, Crockett, Texas 75835.
When preparing an abstract of judgment in Texas, specific information must be included to ensure the document is considered valid. This information includes 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, any balance due, including child support arrearages, and the interest rate specified in the judgment. The abstract must also include the mailing address of each plaintiff or judgment creditor and must be verified by the creditor’s attorney.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
The abstract of judgment is required to be recorded in Houston County when the debtor has real property there. The Houston County clerk receives the abstract and records it in the county’s real property records, noting the date and time of documentation. Additionally, the clerk must include the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, listing 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 establish that foreign judgments are as enforceable as local judgments. To domesticate a foreign judgment in Texas, the foreign judgment holder must adhere to the lien requirements.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
The defendant’s nonexempt real property in Houston County, as recorded in the county, is encumbered by the judgment lien, which applies to all properties.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
A judgment lien remains valid for ten years from the date of recording and indexing the abstract, but if a writ of execution is not issued within that period, the judgment becomes dormant, and the lien expires. To maintain 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.
State or state agency judgments remain enforceable and do not become dormant, and a valid abstract of judgment can establish a lien that lasts for 20 years from the date of filing. The lien’s duration can be extended for an additional 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment, making it effective for a total of 40 years.
3. Political Subdivisions.
While dormancy statutes can cause judgments of political subdivisions to go inactive, the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006, enables political subdivisions to revive the judgment at any time. Therefore, 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.
The provision in § 34.001 Subsection (c) of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code makes an exemption for child support judgments from the dormancy statute and applies to all such judgments, regardless of when they were issued.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
The execution can seize the judgment debtor’s property, unless it is protected by the constitution, statute, or any other legal rule. Usually, the following categories 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 like stocks, bonds, or notes; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations have no exempt property.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
Property belonging to the following categories is immune from execution for a family or an individual: a) The homestead b) Personal property of various types defined by statute, up to a maximum fair market value of $100,000.00 for a family or $50,000.00 for an individual who is not a member of a family. c) Current wages for personal services, excluding child support payments, and unpaid commissions for personal services, not exceeding twenty-five percent (25%) of the $50/$100,000 aggregate limitations. d) Health aids prescribed by a professional. e) Worker’s compensation payments. f) Cemetery lots held for sepulcher purposes. g) Property that the judgment debtor has sold, mortgaged, or transferred in trust, provided that the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee identifies other assets of the debtor that are 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. l) Specific artwork that has been consigned.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
The post-judgment garnishment is a legal remedy available to a judgment creditor to investigate whether a third party owes any funds or property to the judgment debtor. Upon discovering any debts, 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
To employ garnishment after a judgment, specific conditions must be satisfied. 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 halt execution on the judgment. Finally, the creditor must assert that, based on their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not possess sufficient property in Texas subject to execution to satisfy the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
A post-judgment garnishment action is a distinct legal proceeding from the main case it intends 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 delivered the judgment to be collected, but with a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The service of the writ of garnishment on the garnishee is the first step in the garnishment process, 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. A failure to provide the judgment debtor with property notice results in any judgment, except one that dissolves the writ, being unenforceable.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
To ensure proper delivery of garnishment writs to garnishee banks, the address specified as the registered agent of the financial institution in its registration statement under Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code must be used. Out-of-state financial institutions are required to file an application for registration with the Secretary of State and follow the state’s foreign corporation laws, including 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 in charge of executing a writ of garnishment must produce a return that meets the citation requirements. The judgment creditor should scrutinize the return before pursuing a garnishment judgment, particularly in cases of default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings must comply with the same regulations as citations in general. Courts have rejected returns that do not indicate the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
When a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor is located and it is deemed cost-effective to pursue it, file an Application for Garnishment supported by an affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney. The affidavit should include 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.
Recovering a judgment in Texas can be challenging, but Busby and Associates can assist you with their contingency-based services. You don’t pay anything upfront, and they only collect their fee if they recover the amount owed. For judgments from other states with the debtor in Texas, they evaluate each case individually and may require a retainer. In Houston County, they can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution to recover the amount owed.