Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Liberty County, Texas
If you’re facing challenges in collecting a judgment in Liberty County, Texas, Busby & Associates is here to provide comprehensive legal assistance. Our skilled attorneys are experienced in the defense, collection, and enforcement of judgments, with a specific focus on garnishing bank accounts and financial institutions. As experienced consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce lawyers, we also offer our services to those involved in child support lien cases, representing both obligors and obligees. Furthermore, if you require the domestication of foreign child support liens in Liberty County, Texas, we have the expertise to assist you. Feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll guide you through the process, helping you successfully collect your judgment.
Texas Judgment liens in Liberty County
The effectiveness of a judgment lien, duly fixed, lies in its ability to encumber all nonexempt real property owned by the judgment debtor in Liberty County. By following the correct procedures of recording and indexing an abstract of judgment, this lien can be established. It is crucial to file the abstract of judgment in each county where the fixation of the lien is sought. As long as the judgment remains active and does not enter a dormant state, the lien will remain valid for a period of ten years from the date of recordation and indexing. It should be noted that the underlying judgment must be final and not interlocutory for the lien to be enforceable. Even in cases where the judgment is under appeal or a supersedeas bond has been filed, there is still the option to file an abstract of a final judgment. Furthermore, if a judgment creditor has taken the necessary measures to secure the lien prior to the appeal, the appeal itself will not undermine the efficacy of those steps in the event of affirmance. These rules exclusively apply to judgments issued by Texas state trial courts and do not encompass the enforcement of judgments from other states or foreign jurisdictions. In such instances, it is necessary to domesticate the judgment in Texas before creating a lien, followed by the potential filing of an abstract.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
In Texas, the abstract of judgment may be prepared by the judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, or the designated representative of the judgment creditor, such as their agent, attorney, or assignee. However, the judgment creditor is not allowed to prepare their own abstract in small claims and justice courts. Additionally, abstracts of federal court judgments require the certification of the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Liberty County, Texas, you can visit the County Clerk’s office at 1923 Sam Houston St #209, Liberty, Texas 77575.
When preparing a Texas abstract of judgment, it is vital to include specific elements as required by law. These elements include the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the defendant’s birthdate (if accessible to the clerk of justice), the last three digits of the defendant’s driver’s license and social security number (if obtainable), the suit number in which the judgment was rendered, the defendant’s address or details regarding the citation’s nature, date, and place of service, the date of judgment, the amount awarded and the remaining balance, any child support arrearage, the interest rate specified in the judgment, and the mailing address for each plaintiff or judgment creditor. It is important to ensure that the abstract is verified by the creditor’s attorney and that unsworn declarations are not utilized.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
The abstract of judgment must be officially documented in Liberty County, where the debtor owns real property. It is the responsibility of the Liberty County clerk to receive the abstract and record it in the county’s real property records, ensuring accurate documentation of the date and time of recording. Additionally, the clerk is required to include the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, providing comprehensive information such as the names of each plaintiff and defendant in the judgment and the corresponding page number where the abstract is filed.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgment Liens.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act stipulate that judgments filed under these Acts are enforceable in Texas in the same way as judgments filed in the court where they originated. The foreign judgment holder must satisfy the lien requirements when seeking to domesticate the judgment in Texas.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
The defendant’s nonexempt real property recorded in Liberty County is affected by the judgment lien, which applies to all properties.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
In order for the judgment lien to remain valid, it must be recorded and indexed in an abstract, with a duration of 10 years. However, if the judgment becomes dormant, the lien will no longer hold. To ensure its continuity, one must (1) keep the judgment alive and (2) obtain and record a fresh abstract of judgment. A judgment is deemed dormant if a writ of execution is not issued within 10 years from its rendering, but it can be revived through scire facias or by initiating an action of debt before the second anniversary of dormancy.
2. State or State Agency Judgments.
State or state agency judgments do not become dormant and retain their enforceability throughout the entire duration of the lien. A duly filed abstract of judgment creates a lien that remains in effect for 20 years from the date of filing, and the lien can be extended for another 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Under dormancy statutes, judgments of political subdivisions may go inactive, but the revival statute, Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006, empowers political subdivisions to revive the judgment at any time. Consequently, the political subdivision is not constrained 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 carves out a special provision that excludes judgments related to child support from the dormancy statute, covering all such judgments regardless of when they were rendered.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
The execution has the authority to levy the judgment debtor’s property, unless it is granted exemption by the constitution, statute, or any other legal rule. Generally, the following types of property are not exempt: a. Cash on hand or in checking or savings accounts; b. Pleasure boats, including their motors and trailers; c. Collections such as stamps, coins, etc.; d. Stocks, bonds, notes, and other investments; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations do not enjoy any protected property.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
Exemption from execution applies to property falling into specific categories, regardless of whether it pertains to a family or a single adult. These categories comprise: a) The homestead b) Personal property falling under various statutory categories, up to a combined fair market value of $100,000.00 for a family or $50,000.00 for a single adult who is not a member of a family c) Current wages for personal service (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 held for the purpose of sepulcher g) Property previously sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust by the judgment debtor, as long as the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee points out other property belonging to the debtor that is sufficient to satisfy the execution h) Assets held by the trustee of a spendthrift trust for the benefit of the judgment debtor i) Specific insurance benefits j) Certain savings plans, including retirement benefits and health savings plans k) College Savings Plans l) Consigned artwork meeting specific criteria.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
The post-judgment garnishment procedure serves as a mechanism for a judgment creditor to investigate the association between a third party and the judgment debtor, aiming to determine if there are any funds or property owed to the debtor. If any such debts are discovered, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, instructing the third party (garnishee) to remit payments to the garnishor rather than the judgment debtor.
Requirements to Issue
The option of garnishment becomes available subsequent to a judgment, but only if specific conditions are present. 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. Lastly, the creditor must affirm that, to the best of their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not hold enough property subject to execution in Texas to satisfy the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
When pursuing post-judgment garnishment, it is important to understand that it entails a separate legal action from the main case being enforced. The third-party garnishee should be named as the defendant, as it constitutes an ancillary lawsuit. The application for post-judgment garnishment should be filed in the same court that rendered the judgment to be collected, under a distinct cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
In order to initiate the garnishment action, the garnishee must be served with the writ of garnishment. While the judgment defendant is not considered a mandatory participant in the garnishment proceedings, it is necessary to serve them with a copy of the writ of garnishment, along with the application, accompanying affidavits, and court orders, as promptly as possible after serving the garnishee. Moreover, this rule mandates that the copy of the writ served to the defendant should clearly convey its contents in 12-point type and in a manner designed to inform a reasonably attentive person. Failure to provide proper notice to the judgment debtor regarding their property being subject to garnishment renders any judgment, except one dissolving the writ, void.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
The delivery of garnishment writs to garnishee banks requires directing them to the address designated as the registered agent of the financial institution in its registration statement, as per Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code. Out-of-state financial institutions must fulfill the registration requirements with the Secretary of State by following the laws applicable to foreign corporations conducting business in the state, including appointing an agent for process under Section 201.102. In contrast, Texas financial institutions have the option to appoint an agent for process by submitting a statement to the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.
The officer entrusted with the execution of a writ of garnishment is obligated to provide a return that complies with the citation rules, as stated in Tex. R. Civ. P. 663. It is advisable for the judgment creditor to thoroughly examine the return before seeking a garnishment judgment, particularly if it is a default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings are governed by the same rules as other citations. Courts have declared returns as fatally defective if they do not indicate the method of service on a corporate garnishee or the place of service.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
When you locate a bank account or any other debt owed by the judgment debtor that qualifies for garnishment and is deemed cost-effective to pursue, take the necessary steps to file an Application for Garnishment with a supporting affidavit. The affidavit, endorsed by the judgment creditor’s attorney, should encompass relevant information such as the original suit and judgment details, the garnishee’s name, officers for service and their service address, as well as any available account names and numbers.
If you’re facing the challenge of collecting a judgment in Texas, turn to Busby and Associates for expert assistance. They offer contingency-based services, ensuring you don’t have to pay anything upfront. For judgments originating from other states with a Texas-based judgment debtor, they carefully evaluate each case on an individual basis, sometimes requiring a retainer. Moreover, in Liberty County, they possess the necessary skills to help you garnish a bank account or financial institution to recover the owed amount.