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Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Tarrant County, Texas

 

In Tarrant County, Texas, Busby & Associates is your trusted partner for all your judgment-related needs. Our skilled attorneys are experienced in defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments, with a primary focus on garnishing bank accounts and financial institutions. As experienced consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce lawyers, we also provide comprehensive support to both obligors and obligees involved in child support lien cases. Additionally, we possess the expertise to handle the domestication of foreign child support liens specific to Tarrant County, Texas. If you’re a judgment creditor struggling to receive payment, contact us today. We’ll work closely with you to navigate the legal process and help you collect your judgment successfully.

Texas Judgment liens in Tarrant County

When appropriately fixed, a judgment lien serves as a lien on all nonexempt real property owned by the judgment debtor in Tarrant County. To establish a judgment lien, it is necessary to accurately record and index an abstract of judgment. The abstract of judgment must be filed in each county where the judgment lien is to be established. The lien remains valid for ten years from the date of recordation and indexing, unless the judgment becomes dormant. The judgment on which the lien is based must be final and not interlocutory. However, if the judgment is being appealed or a supersedeas bond has been filed, an abstract of judgment can still be filed based on the final judgment. Moreover, if a judgment creditor has taken the required steps to obtain a lien before the judgment is appealed, the fact of appeal will not negate the effect of those steps in the event of affirmance. These rules apply specifically to Texas state trial court judgments and do not encompass the enforcement of judgments from other states and foreign jurisdictions. To enforce judgments from other states or foreign jurisdictions, it is necessary to first domesticate the judgment in Texas to create a lien, and subsequently, an abstract of judgment may be filed.

Texas Abstract of Judgment

In Texas, the abstract of judgment for judgments rendered in all but small claims and justice courts 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. Additionally, it is important to obtain the certificate of the clerk of the court for abstracts of federal court judgments. If you have a judgment lien in Tarrant County, Texas, you can abstract it at the County Clerk’s office situated at 100 W Weatherford St, Fort Worth, Texas 76196.

Contents

When creating a Texas abstract of judgment, it is necessary to provide specific information to satisfy legal requirements. This information comprises the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the birthdate of the defendant (if accessible 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 available), 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. Additionally, the abstract of judgment must be verified by the creditor’s attorney, and unsworn declarations are not admissible.

Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract

When the debtor possesses real property in Tarrant County, the abstract of judgment must be documented in that jurisdiction. The abstract is presented to the Tarrant County clerk, who meticulously records it in the county’s real property records, carefully noting the recordation date and time. Additionally, the clerk is mandated to include the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, displaying the names of each plaintiff and defendant in the judgment and the corresponding 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 dictate that judgments filed under these Acts have the same enforceability as judgments filed in the court where they originated. To domesticate the judgment in Texas, the foreign judgment holder must meet the lien requirements.

Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property

Tarrant County is where the judgment lien attaches to all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant and recorded in the county.

Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive

1.      Non-governmental Judgments

The judgment lien retains its enforceability for a duration of 10 years starting from the recording and indexing of the abstract, unless it becomes dormant. Hence, it is essential to (1) actively preserve the judgment and (2) obtain and record a new abstract of judgment to maintain the validity of the lien. If the judgment enters a dormant state, it can be revived through scire facias or by initiating an action of debt within two years from the date of dormancy.

2.      State or State Agency Judgments.

The enforceability of state or state agency judgments remains in place and does not expire. By filing an abstract of judgment correctly, a lien is created that lasts for 20 years from the filing date, and the lien’s duration can be extended for another 20 years through the submission of a renewed abstract of judgment.

3.      Political Subdivisions.

While dormancy statutes can render judgments of political subdivisions inactive, the revival statute (Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006) empowers political subdivisions to revive the judgment without being bound by the statute of limitations. Thus, political subdivisions can revive judgments at any time, extending beyond the two-year dormancy period.

4.      Child Support Judgments.

Subsection (c) of § 34.001 of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code establishes a specific provision that exempts judgments pertaining to child support from the dormancy statute, encompassing all such judgments regardless of their date of rendering.

Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.

1.      Property Subject to Execution.

Unless specifically exempted by constitutional provisions, statutes, or other applicable law, the execution has the power to seize the judgment debtor’s property. Typically, the following types of property are not exempted: a. Cash on hand or in checking or savings accounts; b. Pleasure boats along with their motors and trailers; c. Collections comprising stamps, coins, etc.; d. Stocks, bonds, notes, and other investments; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations do not enjoy any exemption for their property.

2.      Property Exempt from Execution.

The following categories of property are exempt from execution, regardless of whether they pertain to a family or a single adult: a) The homestead b) Personal property falling under specified statutory categories, with a total 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, if the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee identifies other property adequate 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) Certain consigned artwork.

Tarrant County

WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.

The post-judgment garnishment process provides a procedural mechanism for a judgment creditor to examine the relationship between a third party and the judgment debtor, aiming to identify any outstanding funds or property owed to the debtor. Should any such debts be uncovered, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, instructing the third party (garnishee) to transfer payments to the garnishor rather than the judgment debtor.

Requirements to Issue

Following the successful rendering of a judgment, garnishment becomes a viable option only when specific conditions are fulfilled. These conditions include: a) 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. b) The debtor must not have filed an approved supersedeas bond to suspend execution on the judgment. c) The creditor must provide an affidavit stating that, to the best of their knowledge, the judgment debtor does not possess sufficient property in Texas that is subject to execution and can satisfy the judgment.

Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties

It’s crucial to recognize that a post-judgment garnishment action is an independent legal suit apart from the main case it seeks to enforce. The third-party garnishee should be identified as the defendant, underscoring their role in this supplementary legal action. File the application for post-judgment garnishment in the same court that rendered the judgment, using a different cause number.

Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.

Upon serving the garnishee with the writ of garnishment, the garnishment action is initiated, and the judgment defendant, while not a necessary party, must be served with a copy of the writ of garnishment, the application, accompanying affidavits, and court orders promptly after the garnishee has been served. It is further required that the copy of the writ served to the defendant includes 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, other than one dissolving the writ, null and void.

Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment

For the purpose of delivering garnishment writs served on garnishee banks, they must be delivered to the address designated as the registered agent of the financial institution in its registration statement filed with the Secretary of State, as mandated by 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 the designation of 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.

Officer’s Return.

Pursuant to Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the officer responsible for executing a writ of garnishment must submit a return that complies with the citation regulations. It is prudent 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

Once a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor that can be subjected to garnishment is discovered and confirmed to be cost-effective, initiate the process by filing an Application for Garnishment with a supporting affidavit. The supporting affidavit, to be signed by the attorney representing the judgment creditor, should contain the necessary information for the application, including details of the original lawsuit and judgment, any credits applied to the judgment, the accurate garnishee name, officers authorized for service, service address, and, if available, relevant account names and numbers.

If you’re struggling to collect your judgment in Texas, rely on the expertise of Busby and Associates. With their contingency-based services, upfront payments are not required. Judgments from other states with a judgment debtor in Texas are carefully considered, sometimes with a retainer involved. Furthermore, in Tarrant County, they possess the necessary skills to help you garnish a bank account or financial institution, maximizing the chances of recovering the owed amount.

 

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