Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Montgomery County, Texas
Collecting judgments in Montgomery County, Texas requires the expertise of professionals who understand the intricacies of the legal system. At Busby & Associates, our experienced attorneys are skilled in defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments, with a particular emphasis on garnishing bank accounts and financial institutions. As skilled consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce lawyers, we also offer our services to assist both obligors and obligees involved in child support lien cases. Furthermore, if you require assistance with the domestication of foreign child support liens specific to Montgomery County, Texas, we have the knowledge and resources to guide you through the process. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us help you collect your judgment successfully.
Texas Judgment liens in Montgomery County
In Montgomery County, the establishment of a properly fixed judgment lien results in a lien on all nonexempt real property owned by the judgment debtor. This lien is created through the accurate recording and indexing of an abstract of judgment. It is imperative to file the abstract of judgment in each county where the judgment lien is intended to be fixed. The duration of the lien extends for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing, unless the judgment becomes dormant. It is important to highlight that the judgment on which the lien is based must be final and cannot be interlocutory. However, if the judgment is under appeal or a supersedeas bond has been filed, it is still permissible to file an abstract on a final judgment. Moreover, if a judgment creditor has taken the necessary steps to obtain a lien before the judgment is appealed, the appeal itself will not diminish the effect of such steps in the event of affirmance. These regulations specifically apply to judgments issued by Texas state trial courts and do not encompass the enforcement of judgments from other states or foreign jurisdictions. To enforce judgments from other states or foreign jurisdictions, the judgment must first be domesticated in Texas to create a lien, and subsequently, an abstract of judgment may be filed.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
The preparation of the abstract of judgment in Texas is allowed by various parties, such as the judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, or the authorized representative of the judgment creditor, including their agent, attorney, or assignee. However, in small claims and justice courts, the judgment creditor is not permitted to prepare their own abstract. Additionally, abstracts of federal court judgments require the certification of the clerk of the court. To abstract your judgment lien in Montgomery County, Texas, you can visit the County Clerk’s office at 210 W Davis St #100, Conroe, Texas 77301.
When creating a Texas abstract of judgment, it is essential to include specific details to meet legal requirements. These details consist of the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the defendant’s birthdate (if known to the clerk of justice), the last three numbers of the defendant’s driver’s license and social security number (if available), the suit number in which the judgment was rendered, the defendant’s address or the nature of citation along with the date and place of service if the address is not provided in the suit, the date on which the judgment was rendered, the amount for which the judgment was rendered and the outstanding balance, any child support arrearage, and the interest rate specified in the judgment. Furthermore, the abstract of judgment must contain the mailing address for each plaintiff or judgment creditor. It is important to note that failure to include the mailing address may result in a penalty filing fee. Additionally, the abstract prepared by the creditor’s attorney must be verified, and unsworn declarations are not permissible.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
Recording the abstract of judgment is mandatory in Montgomery County, where the debtor has real property. The abstract is submitted to the Montgomery County clerk, who records it meticulously in the county’s real property records, meticulously noting the date and time of recordation. Additionally, the clerk must include the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, showcasing the names of each plaintiff and defendant involved in the judgment and the page number in the records where the abstract is officially documented.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgment Liens.
Under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, foreign judgments can be enforced in Texas with the same level of enforceability as judgments filed in the court where they originated. Satisfying the lien requirements is necessary for the foreign judgment holder to domesticate the judgment in Texas.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
The judgment lien applies to all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant and located in Montgomery County, where it is recorded.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
The judgment lien retains its validity for a duration of 10 years, starting from the date of recording and indexing the abstract. Nevertheless, if the judgment becomes dormant, the lien will no longer be enforceable. Hence, it is crucial to (1) keep the judgment active and (2) obtain and record a new abstract of judgment. A judgment enters a dormant state if a writ of execution is not issued within 10 years from its rendition, but it can be revived through scire facias or by initiating an action of debt within two years of dormancy.
2. State or State Agency Judgments.
State or state agency judgments retain their enforceability and do not become dormant. When a properly filed abstract of judgment is in place, it creates a lien that lasts for 20 years from the filing date, and the lien’s duration can be extended for an additional 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment, ensuring its enforceability for up to 40 years.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Dormancy statutes may cause judgments of political subdivisions to become dormant, but the revival statute (Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006) safeguards political subdivisions from being barred by the statute of limitations. Consequently, judgments of political subdivisions can be revived at any time, beyond the two-year dormancy period.
4. Child Support Judgments.
The exemption to the dormancy statute for child support judgments is set forth in section 34.001, subsection (c) of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, encompassing all such judgments irrespective of their date of rendering or issuance.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
The execution is authorized to levy the judgment debtor’s property, unless it is exempted by the constitution, statute, or any other rule of law. Typically, the following types of property are not exempt: 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. Stocks, bonds, notes, and other investments; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations do not have any protected property.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
For both families and single adults, the execution of property excludes the following categories: a) The homestead b) Personal property falling within specific statutory categories, up to a combined fair market value of $100,000.00 for families or $50,000.00 for single adults without family affiliation c) Current wages for personal services (excluding child support) and unpaid commissions, not exceeding twenty-five percent (25%) of the aggregate limitations of $50/$100,000 d) Professionally prescribed health aids e) Worker’s compensation payments f) Cemetery lots held for sepulcher purposes g) Property that the judgment debtor sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust, provided the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee identifies sufficient alternative property to satisfy the execution h) Assets held by the trustee of a spendthrift trust for the benefit of the judgment debtor i) Certain insurance benefits j) Specific savings plans, including retirement benefits and health savings plans k) College Savings Plans l) Certain consigned artwork.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
By engaging in the post-judgment garnishment process, a judgment creditor gains the ability to investigate whether a third party owes any funds or property to the judgment debtor. If any debts are discovered, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, compelling the third party (garnishee) to make payments to the garnishor rather than the judgment debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment can be utilized after a judgment is obtained, provided that specific requirements are satisfied. 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 possess sufficient property in Texas that can be executed to satisfy the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
It is crucial to note that a post-judgment garnishment action is an independent legal proceeding separate from the main case it seeks to enforce. 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, but under a different cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The garnishee must receive the writ of garnishment to initiate the garnishment process. While the judgment defendant is not a necessary party in the garnishment action, they must be served with a copy of the writ of garnishment, the application, accompanying affidavits, and court orders as soon as practically possible after the garnishee has been served. This rule further requires that the copy of the writ served to the defendant includes its contents in 12-point type and is presented in a manner designed to advise a reasonably attentive person. Failure to provide proper notice to the judgment debtor regarding their property being garnished renders any judgment, except one dissolving the writ, null and void.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
To facilitate the delivery of garnishment writs to garnishee banks, they should be directed to the address designated as the registered agent of the financial institution in its registration statement, as filed with the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code. Out-of-state financial institutions must comply with the state’s laws for foreign corporations conducting business in the state, which require them to file an application for registration with the Secretary of State and appoint an agent for process under Section 201.102. Conversely, Texas financial institutions have the option to appoint an agent for process by filing a statement with the Secretary of State under Section 201.103.
Pursuant to Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the officer responsible for executing a writ of garnishment must provide a return that complies with the citation regulations. It is advisable for the judgment creditor to carefully examine the return before seeking a garnishment judgment, especially if it is a default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings are subject to the rules governing citations in general. Courts have held returns to be fatally defective if they do not reveal the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Upon finding a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor that qualifies for garnishment and is determined to be financially viable, file an Application for Garnishment with a supporting affidavit signed by the judgment creditor’s attorney. The affidavit should contain essential information, such as the details of the original suit and judgment, the name of the garnishee, officers for service and their address, and any available account names and numbers.
Let Busby and Associates handle the complexities of collecting your judgment in Texas. Their contingency-based services mean you don’t have to worry about upfront fees. Judgments from other states with a Texas-based judgment debtor are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, occasionally requiring a retainer. Furthermore, in Montgomery County, they have the necessary knowledge and resources to help you garnish a bank account or financial institution, maximizing your chances of recovering the owed amount.