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1-281-DIVORCE (348-6723)

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1-281-DIVORCE (348-6723)

Travis County, Austin, Texas

Travis County

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

 

At Busby & Associates, we understand the complexities of judgment enforcement in Travis County, Texas. Our skilled attorneys are experienced in defending, collecting, and enforcing judgments, focusing primarily on garnishing bank accounts and financial institutions. As consumer bankruptcy, family law, and divorce lawyers, we also provide support to both obligors and obligees involved in child support lien cases, assisting with collections prosecution and defense. Moreover, we have the expertise to domesticate foreign child support liens specific to Travis County. If you’re a judgment creditor unable to obtain payment or struggling with a debtor who has a bank account number, contact us for assistance. We will discuss the process with you, guide you every step of the way, and ensure that you collect your judgment successfully, particularly if the debtor resides in Travis County.

Texas Judgment liens in Travis County

When appropriately established, a judgment lien functions as a lien on all nonexempt real property owned by the judgment debtor in Travis County. The establishment of a judgment lien requires accurately recording and indexing an abstract of judgment. The abstract of judgment must be filed in each county where the judgment lien is sought. 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, even 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 the judgment creditor has taken the necessary steps to obtain a lien before the judgment is appealed, the fact of appeal will not diminish the effect of those steps if the judgment is ultimately affirmed. These rules specifically apply to judgments issued by Texas state trial courts 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 the state of Texas, the abstract of judgment can be prepared by the judge, justice of the peace, clerk of the court, or the authorized representative of the judgment creditor, such as their agent, attorney, or assignee, for all types of courts except small claims and justice courts. However, in small claims and justice courts, the judgment creditor is not allowed to prepare their own abstract. Additionally, abstracts of federal court judgments require the certificate of the clerk of the court. If you have a judgment lien in Travis County, Texas, you can abstract it at the County Clerk’s office located at 1000 Guadalupe St, Austin, Texas 78701.

Contents

To comply with Texas regulations, a Texas abstract of judgment must contain specific details. These details include 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 mentioned in the suit, the nature of citation and the date and place of citation service, the date of judgment, 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 important to note that the inclusion of the mailing address is crucial to avoid the imposition of a penalty filing fee. Furthermore, the abstract of judgment must be verified by the creditor’s attorney, and unsworn declarations are not admissible.

Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract

Proper recordation of the abstract of judgment necessitates its documentation in Travis County, the jurisdiction where the debtor possesses real property. The abstract is submitted to the Travis County clerk, who diligently records it in the county’s real property records, ensuring precise notation of the date and time of recordation. Furthermore, the clerk is required to include the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, indicating 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.

The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act ensure that foreign judgments are enforceable in Texas with the same level of enforceability as judgments filed in the originating court. Compliance with the lien requirements is mandatory for the foreign judgment holder when seeking to domesticate the judgment.

Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property

The judgment lien covers all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant and located in Travis County, where it is registered.

Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive

1.      Non-governmental Judgments

The judgment lien remains in effect for a period of 10 years following the recording and indexing of the abstract, unless it becomes dormant. Therefore, it is necessary to (1) keep the judgment active and (2) obtain and record a new abstract of judgment to maintain the lien’s validity. If the judgment becomes dormant, 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.

State or state agency judgments do not become inactive and retain their enforceability throughout the entire duration of the lien. An abstract of judgment, when filed correctly, establishes a lien that remains in force for 20 years from the date of filing, and the lien can be extended for an additional 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.

3.      Political Subdivisions.

While judgments of political subdivisions can become dormant per the dormancy statutes, the revival statute (Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006) specifies that the political subdivision is not precluded by the statute of limitations. Therefore, judgments of political subdivisions can be revived at any time, not solely within two years of dormancy.

4.      Child Support Judgments.

The exception to the dormancy statute for child support judgments is delineated in § 34.001 Subsection (c) of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code and broadly applies to all child support judgments, irrespective of their date of rendering or issuance.

Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.

1.      Property Subject to Execution.

Unless constitutionally, statutorily, or by any other rule of law exempted, the execution has the power to levy the judgment debtor’s property. 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 of items such as stamps, coins, etc.; d. Stocks, bonds, notes, and other investments; e. f. Airplanes. Corporations do not possess any exempt property.

2.      Property Exempt from Execution.

Property falling under the following categories is exempt from execution, irrespective of whether it pertains to a family or a single adult: a) The homestead b) Personal property falling within 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 for personal service (except for 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 sepulcher purposes g) Property that the judgment debtor sold, mortgaged, or conveyed in trust, provided that the purchaser, mortgagee, or trustee points out other property sufficient 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) Designated savings plans, including retirement benefits and health savings plans k) College Savings Plans l) Certain consigned artwork.

Rains County

WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.

By initiating the post-judgment garnishment procedure, a judgment creditor can delve into the relationship between a third party and the judgment debtor, with the goal of identifying any outstanding funds or property owed to the debtor. If any such debts are uncovered, the creditor (garnishor) can secure a garnishment judgment, instructing the third party (garnishee) to remit payments to the garnishor instead of the judgment debtor.

Requirements to Issue

After obtaining a judgment, garnishment becomes available under specific circumstances. These circumstances are as follows: a) The creditor must have 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 affirm, to the best of their knowledge, that the judgment debtor does not possess enough property in Texas that can be executed upon to satisfy the judgment.

Procedure for Securing Issuance Jurisdiction and parties

Remember that a post-judgment garnishment action represents a separate suit from the main cause, with the purpose of enforcing the judgment. The third-party garnishee should be brought in as the defendant in this ancillary action. File the application for post-judgment garnishment in the same court that rendered the judgment to be collected, but under a distinct cause number.

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

The garnishment process is initiated by serving the garnishee with the writ of garnishment, while the judgment defendant, though not a necessary party, must be promptly served with a copy of the writ of garnishment, the application, accompanying affidavits, and court orders after the garnishee has been served. Moreover, it is essential 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 advise 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, void and unenforceable.

Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment

The designated address of the financial institution’s registered agent, as provided in its registration statement filed with the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 201.102 or 201.103 of the Finance Code, serves as the delivery location for garnishment writs served on garnishee banks. Out-of-state financial institutions seeking registration with the Secretary of State must adhere to the state’s laws governing foreign corporations conducting business in the state, which includes designating an agent for process under Section 201.102. On the other hand, 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.

According to Tex. R. Civ. P. 663, the officer executing a writ of garnishment must provide a return that satisfies the citation requirements. It is prudent for the judgment creditor to meticulously review the return before seeking a garnishment judgment, particularly if it is a default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings are subject to the rules governing citations in general. Courts have invalidated returns when they do not specify the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee, considering them fatally defective.

Forms for the form and Practical Procedure

Once a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor subject to garnishment is located and it is determined that sufficient funds are involved to make it cost-effective, file an Application For Garnishment along with a supporting affidavit, signed by the attorney representing the judgment creditor. Ensure that the affidavit includes the necessary information for the application, such as details of the original lawsuit and judgment, any credits applied to the judgment, the proper garnishee name, officers for service, service address, and, if available, account names and numbers.

Need help collecting your judgment in Texas? Busby and Associates may be able to assist you. With their contingency-based services, upfront costs are eliminated. Judgments from other states with a Texas-based judgment debtor are examined individually, typically requiring a retainer. Moreover, if the judgment debtor and/or the judgment is located in Travis County, they can help you garnish a bank account or financial institution, maximizing your chances of successful collection.

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Michael Busby is a Houston divorce lawyer who has been in practice for over 20 years and appears daily in the Family Law Courts of Harris County and Fort Bend County Texas

Busby & Associates , have two Houston Offices, one in Chinatown, Houston Texas and another in Independent Heights, Houston, Texas. Michael Busby is Board Certified in Family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.