Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Starr County, Texas
In Starr County, Texas, Busby & Associates is your trusted ally for all your judgment-related needs. Our dedicated team of attorneys is experienced in the defense, collection, and enforcement of judgments, with a particular focus on garnishing bank accounts and financial institutions. As experienced consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce lawyers, we also provide valuable assistance to both obligors and obligees involved in child support lien cases. Furthermore, we have the expertise to handle the domestication of foreign child support liens specific to Starr County, Texas. If you’re a judgment creditor struggling to receive payment, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll guide you through the process and ensure that you successfully collect your judgment.
Texas Judgment liens in Starr County
Properly fixing a judgment lien establishes it as a lien on all of the judgment debtor’s nonexempt real property in Starr County. The process involves recording and indexing an abstract of judgment, which must be filed in each county where the judgment lien is sought. The lien remains in place for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing, unless the judgment becomes dormant. The underlying judgment must be final, not interlocutory, to serve as the basis for the lien. However, an abstract of judgment can still be filed on a final judgment if it is being appealed or if a supersedeas bond has been filed. If the judgment creditor has already obtained a lien before the judgment is appealed, the fact of appeal will not invalidate the effect of those steps if the judgment is affirmed. These rules apply to Texas state trial court judgments and do not cover the enforcement of judgments from other states and foreign jurisdictions. To create a lien for out-of-state or foreign judgments, they must first be domesticated in Texas, and then an abstract of judgment can be filed.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
In the state of Texas, the abstract of judgment can be prepared by either the judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, or the judgment creditor or his agent, attorney, or assignee. However, in small claims and justice courts, the judgment creditor is not allowed to prepare their own abstract. It is also important to note that abstracts of federal court judgments require the certificate of the clerk of the court. If you have a judgment lien in Starr County, Texas, you can abstract it at the County Clerk’s office situated at 401 Britton Ave #201, Rio Grande City, Texas 78582.
Meeting the requirements of a Texas abstract of judgment entails the inclusion of specific details to ensure legal compliance. These details encompass the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the defendant’s birthdate (if available to the clerk of justice), the last three digits of the defendant’s driver’s license (if obtainable), the last three digits of the defendant’s social security number (if accessible), the suit number in which the judgment was rendered, the defendant’s address or, if not specified in the suit, the nature of citation and the date and place of citation service, the date on which the judgment was rendered, the amount for which the judgment was rendered and the outstanding balance, any child support arrearage, the interest rate specified in the judgment, and the mailing address for each plaintiff or judgment creditor. It is essential to include the mailing address to avoid the imposition of a penalty filing fee. Furthermore, the abstract of judgment must be verified by the creditor’s attorney, and the use of unsworn declarations is not allowed.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
The abstract of judgment must be recorded in Starr County, where the debtor’s real property is situated. The Starr County clerk receives the abstract and meticulously records it in the county’s real property records, ensuring accurate documentation of the recordation date and time. Furthermore, the clerk is required to note on the abstract the specific day and hour of recordation and enter the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, providing a comprehensive listing of the names of each plaintiff and defendant in the judgment and the page number where the abstract is officially recorded.
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 originating court. The foreign judgment holder must fulfill the lien requirements to successfully domesticate the judgment in Texas.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
Starr County, as the county of recordation, is where the judgment lien is attached to all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
To maintain the judgment lien’s validity, it remains in force for a period of 10 years following the recording and indexing of the abstract, unless it becomes dormant. Thus, it is necessary to (1) actively preserve the judgment and (2) obtain and record a new abstract of judgment to ensure the continuity of the lien. If the judgment becomes dormant, 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.
Judgments issued by the state or a state agency do not lose their legal validity and maintain their enforceability. A duly filed abstract of judgment creates a lien that remains in force for 20 years from the date of filing, and the lien can be renewed for an additional 20-year period by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Under dormancy statutes, judgments of political subdivisions can become dormant; however, the revival statute (Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006) ensures that political subdivisions are not subject to the statute of limitations. Therefore, political subdivisions can revive judgments at any time, even beyond the two-year dormancy period.
4. Child Support Judgments.
Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code establishes a specific exemption for judgments related to child support from the dormancy statute, encompassing all such judgments regardless of when they were rendered.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
The execution holds the power to levy the judgment debtor’s property unless it is exempted by constitutional provisions, statutes, or any other rule of law. Typically, the following types of property are not exempted: a. Cash held in hand or in checking or savings accounts; b. Pleasure boats, including their motors and trailers; c. Collections of items like stamps, coins, etc.; d. Stocks, bonds, notes, and other investment assets; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations do not possess any property that is exempt from execution.
2. Property Exempt from Execution.
The execution process does not apply to property falling within the following categories, whether owned by a family or a single adult: a) The homestead b) Personal property falling under various specified categories as defined by statute, up to an aggregate fair market value not exceeding $100,000.00 for families or $50,000.00 for single adults without family affiliation c) Current wages earned from personal service (excluding child support) and unpaid commissions, limited to 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 sepulcher purposes g) Property that the judgment debtor sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust, provided the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee identifies other property sufficient to fulfill the execution h) Assets held by the trustee of a spendthrift trust for the benefit of the judgment debtor i) Certain insurance benefits j) Designated savings plans, including retirement benefits and health savings plans k) College Savings Plans l) Consigned artwork under specific circumstances.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
By employing the post-judgment garnishment process, a judgment creditor gains the ability to investigate the connection between a third party and the judgment debtor, seeking to determine if there are any funds or property owed to the debtor. In the presence of such debts, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, compelling the third party (garnishee) to transfer payments to the garnishor rather than the judgment debtor.
Requirements to Issue
After securing a judgment, garnishment can be pursued, but only if certain conditions are met. These conditions include: a) 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. b) The debtor must not have filed an approved supersedeas bond to suspend execution on the judgment. c) The creditor must state, to the best of their knowledge, that the judgment debtor does not have sufficient property in Texas that is subject to execution and can satisfy the judgment.
Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties
Keep in mind that a post-judgment garnishment action represents a separate legal proceeding distinct from the main case it aims to enforce. The third-party garnishee should be designated as the defendant, signifying their involvement in this ancillary lawsuit. File the application for post-judgment garnishment in the same court that rendered the judgment, under a distinct cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
The writ of garnishment is to be served on the garnishee, initiating the garnishment action. While the judgment defendant is not a necessary party in the garnishment, they must be served with a copy of the writ of garnishment, the application, accompanying affidavits, and court orders as soon as practically feasible after serving the garnishee. Moreover, it is stipulated that the copy of the writ served to the defendant contains its contents in 12-point type and is presented in a manner calculated to inform a reasonably attentive person. Failure to provide proper notice to the judgment debtor regarding the garnishment renders any judgment, except for one dissolving the writ, invalid and unenforceable.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
The delivery of garnishment writs served on garnishee banks requires them to be delivered to the address designated as the registered agent of the financial institution in its registration statement filed with the Secretary of State in accordance with either Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code. Out-of-state financial institutions must comply with the state’s laws governing foreign corporations conducting business in the state, including designating an agent for process under Section 201.102 when applying for registration with the Secretary of State. Conversely, Texas financial institutions have the option to file a statement with the Secretary of State appointing an agent for process under Section 201.103.
Tex. R. Civ. P. 663 mandates that the officer responsible for executing a writ of garnishment must provide a return that complies with the citation regulations. It is recommended for the judgment creditor to thoroughly review the return before obtaining a garnishment judgment, particularly if it is a default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings must adhere to the same rules as other citations. Courts have held returns as fatally defective if they do not indicate the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
If you come across a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor that fulfills the criteria for garnishment and is determined to be cost-effective, proceed by filing an Application for Garnishment along with a supporting affidavit signed by the attorney representing the judgment creditor. Include the necessary information in the affidavit, such as details of the original lawsuit and judgment, any credits applied to the judgment, the correct garnishee name, designated officers for service, service address, and, if provided, account names and numbers.
Need professional help in collecting your judgment in Texas? Busby and Associates are here for you. With their contingency-based services, you won’t have to worry about upfront payments. Judgments from other states with a judgment debtor in Texas undergo a thorough case-by-case evaluation, sometimes requiring a retainer. Furthermore, in Starr County, they can assist you in garnishing a bank account or financial institution, maximizing your chances of recovering the owed amount.