Texas Writs of Garnishment to Collect Judgment Liens from Washington County, Texas
At Busby & Associates, we understand the complexities involved in judgment enforcement in Washington County, Texas. Our skilled attorneys specialize 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 comprehensive support to both obligors and obligees involved in child support lien cases, offering collections prosecution and defense. Additionally, we possess the expertise to domesticate foreign child support liens specific to Washington County. If you’re a judgment creditor struggling to receive payment or dealing with a debtor who has a bank account number, contact us. We’ll explain the process, guide you through it, and help you successfully collect your judgment, particularly if the debtor resides in Washington County.
Texas Judgment liens in Washington County
When properly established, a judgment lien functions as a lien on all nonexempt real property belonging to the judgment debtor in Washington County. The creation of a judgment lien involves accurately recording and indexing an abstract of judgment. To fix the judgment lien, it is necessary to file the abstract of judgment 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, it is still possible to file an abstract of judgment based on the final judgment. Furthermore, if the judgment creditor has taken the necessary 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 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, followed by the filing of an abstract of judgment.
Texas Abstract of Judgment
The abstract of judgment in Texas can be prepared by either 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 judgments rendered in all 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. Furthermore, it’s important to obtain the certificate of the clerk of the court for abstracts of federal court judgments. If you need to abstract your judgment lien in Washington County, Texas, you can do so at the County Clerk’s office situated at 100 E Main St, Brenham, Texas 77833.
A Texas abstract of judgment must meet certain criteria to be considered valid. These criteria include the inclusion of specific information such as the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the birthdate of the defendant (if known by the clerk of justice), the last three digits of the defendant’s driver’s license (if available), the last three digits of the defendant’s social security number (if obtainable), 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 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 essential to provide the mailing address to avoid the imposition of a penalty filing fee. Furthermore, it is required that the abstract of judgment be verified by the creditor’s attorney, and unsworn declarations are not accepted.
Recordation of Judgment Liens Abstract
Washington County is the designated jurisdiction for the proper recording of the abstract of judgment when the debtor has real property in that jurisdiction. The abstract is delivered to the Washington County clerk, who diligently records it in the county’s real property records, ensuring accurate documentation of the date and time of recordation. Additionally, the clerk is obliged to enter the abstract in the alphabetical index to the real property records, providing a comprehensive listing of the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ names in the judgment, along with the page number where the abstract is officially recorded.
Abstracts of Domesticated Judgment Liens.
Judgments filed under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act and the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act possess the same enforceability as judgments filed in the court of origin, enabling their enforcement in Texas. Fulfillment of the lien requirements is required for the foreign judgment holder to successfully domesticate the judgment in Texas.
Property To Which Lien Attaches Non-Exempt Real Property
Washington County is where the judgment lien takes effect on all nonexempt real property owned by the defendant and registered in the county.
Keeping the Judgment and Judgment Lien Alive
1. Non-governmental Judgments
The judgment lien remains effective for a period of 10 years from the date of recording and indexing the abstract, unless it becomes dormant. Hence, it is crucial to (1) actively preserve the judgment and (2) obtain and record a new abstract of judgment to preserve the lien. 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.
The enforceability of state or state agency judgments remains unaffected and does not go dormant. By properly filing an abstract of judgment, a lien is established that lasts for 20 years from the filing date, and the lien can be extended for another 20 years by filing a renewed abstract of judgment.
3. Political Subdivisions.
Judgments of political subdivisions may go dormant under dormancy statutes, but the revival statute (Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.006) asserts that the political subdivision is not limited by the statute of limitations. Consequently, judgments of political subdivisions can be revived at any time, extending beyond the two-year dormancy period.
4. Child Support Judgments.
All judgments for child support are excepted from the dormancy statute by § 34.001 Subsection (c) of the Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, which universally applies to all child support judgments irrespective of their age.
Property Subject to and Exempt from Execution.
1. Property Subject to Execution.
The execution is authorized to seize the judgment debtor’s property unless it is exempted by constitutional provisions, statutes, or any other rule of law. In most cases, the following types of property will not be exempt: a. Cash on hand or in checking or savings accounts; b. Pleasure boats and associated 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.
The following categories of property are exempt from execution, whether it pertains to a family or a single adult: a) The homestead b) Personal property falling within specified categories, 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 (except 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 identifies other property sufficient to satisfy the execution h) Assets in the hands of 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.
WRITS OF GARNISHMENT.
When seeking to ascertain whether a third party owes any funds or property to the judgment debtor, a judgment creditor can resort to the post-judgment garnishment process. If any debts are uncovered, the creditor (garnishor) can obtain a garnishment judgment, compelling the third party (garnishee) to transfer payments to the garnishor in lieu of the judgment debtor.
Requirements to Issue
Garnishment is available after a judgment is obtained, subject to meeting specific prerequisites. These prerequisites include: a) The creditor possessing a valid and subsisting judgment against the debtor, with the judgment being deemed final and subsisting from the date of rendition. b) The debtor not having filed an approved supersedeas bond to suspend execution on the judgment. c) The creditor affirming, based on 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
It’s important to note that a post-judgment garnishment action is an independent legal proceeding separate from the main case it aims to enforce. The third-party garnishee should be designated as the defendant, emphasizing their role in this supplementary lawsuit. File the application for post-judgment garnishment in the same court that issued the judgment, under a unique cause number.
Service of the writ of garnishment/notice to judgment debtor.
Initiating the garnishment action necessitates 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 crucial 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 advise 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, void and unenforceable.
Banks as Garnishees for Writs of Garnishment
To ensure effective delivery, garnishment writs served on garnishee banks should be directed to the address designated as the registered agent of the financial institution in its registration statement filed with the Secretary of State, as set forth under 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.
The officer tasked with executing a writ of garnishment is obligated to furnish a return that complies with the citation regulations outlined in Tex. R. Civ. P. 663. It is essential for the judgment creditor to examine the return thoroughly before obtaining a garnishment judgment, particularly in the case of a default judgment. Returns in garnishment proceedings must adhere to the same rules as other citations. Courts have deemed returns as fatally defective if they fail to indicate the method and place of service on a corporate garnishee.
Forms for the form and Practical Procedure
Upon discovering a bank account or other debt owed by the judgment debtor subject to garnishment and confirming 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 all the necessary information for the application, such as details of the original lawsuit and judgment, any credits applied to the judgment, the accurate garnishee name, designated officers for service, service address, and, if available, account names and numbers.
Need help collecting your judgment in Texas? Busby and Associates are here for you. With their contingency-based services, upfront costs are not an issue. Judgments from other states with a judgment debtor in Texas are assessed on a case-by-case basis, typically involving a retainer. Furthermore, in Washington County, they can assist you in garnishing a bank account or financial institution, streamlining the collection process.