How is a Judgment Enforced in Texas?

In Texas, there are various options for executing a judgment, but you must know where to begin. Consult a collection attorney in the region where your debtor lives or has assets. A Texas judgment confers some advantages, which your attorney might utilize to get the interest of the judgment debtor.

The Law Offices of Alex R. Hernandez Jr. will do the following:

Interrogate the judgment debtor concerning their conduct using witness statements, inquiry, and documentation requests.

  • Identify undisclosed, nonexempt assets. 
  • Submit garnishment and execution writs on behalf of the client. 
  • Submit motions to compel or for contempt.
  • Discuss conditions of payment or settlement.

We will vigorously explore all legal alternatives to implement the judgment and reclaim the money due to you. We use all available viable remedies, including the prospect of yet more legal action to motivate the judgment debtor to pay or bargain – your strategic interests will always be safeguarded.

In Texas, a judgment creditor may try post-judgment collection in a number of methods, including:

Post-judgment discovery.

Post-judgment discovery is the most effective method for determining the contents of a debtor’s assets. Post-judgment discovery consists of conventional discovery techniques such as requests for production, interrogatories, requests for admissions, and depositions. However, the constraints that normally restrict these demands in a pre-judgment context do not apply. For collection purposes, judgment creditors may utilize as many interrogatories and requests for production as necessary to get details about the judgment debtor’s wealth.

We employ two techniques to maximize the post-judgment discovery:

The debtor may heed enquires and give the required data for debt collection or the judgment debtor does not.

The debtor fails to respond, making them subject to court penalties if the judgment creditor files a move to enforce and motion for contempt.

Penalties for failing to respond to discovery include attorney costs, fines, and even prison for failing to comply with the order passed by a court. The serving of post-judgment discovery is crucial to getting compensation on the judgment and must be completed prior to collection efforts.

A Judgment Lien

If the judgment debtor possesses property, a judgment lien might be placed on the property. Thus, if the real estate is sold by the debtor, you can collect your judgment from the earnings.

Certain property in Texas is free from judgment liens, though. Homesteads and personal property, such as furniture, jewelry, or a vehicle, valued at a total of $30,000 (or $60,000 per family) are deemed “judgment-proof.” A lawyer can assist you in locating and identifying nonexempt property.

To register a judgment lien, you or your attorney must record an abstract of judgment (AJ) in any county where the defendant holds nonexempt property. Abstract of judgment is a document recorded in the county’s property records that provides information about the judgment and the debtor. A judgment lien is generated by the correct documentation and cataloguing of a judgment abstract. The lien has a 10-year duration and is renewable. For it to be effective, the abstract of judgment must conform with Texas Property Code section 52.003.

Request an Execution Warrant

You may need to recover a debt quickly and to this end, we follow a proactive strategy. If required, we file a writ of execution in the court that resolved your case 30 days after receiving a verdict. The writ of execution instructs the sheriff or constable to seize and sell the debtor’s nonexempt property and bring the profits to you so that they may be used to the judgment. A writ of execution may also attract unwelcome attention for a person in debt and can be an effective instrument for encouraging the debtor to clear the debt or negotiate a settlement.

To effectively levy on the property that’s nonexempt, the judgment creditor must direct the constable in charge of executing the writ to gather assets that would meet the judgment amount. If not done, the constable will not know the right amount to levy, which may lead to a failed levy effort. Before issuing a warrant of execution, a competent collections attorney would know this tactic.

Request a Garnishment Writ

Debtors are not necessarily in possession of assets, although they often have accounts in a bank. You could collect your debt immediately from the debtor’s bank account if you seek a garnishment. A garnishment writ directs a third party (such as a bank) to give over property to satisfy a judgment. Courts have the authority to garnish bank accounts (known as a bank levy) and also wages.

Our lawyers who specialize in judgment collection will help you with garnishment processes. We need the debtor’s bank name, account name, and, preferably, account number. This information may be extracted from any prior cancelled checks the debtor would’ve issued to you. 

Garnishment writs are often most effective when the creditor is aware of the bank account’s balance before obtaining the writ. If the judgment creditor does not realize this, requesting a garnishment writ might be dangerous since the judgment creditor could end up paying bank’s legal expenses related with the writ garnishment from his or her own pocket. If there’s no money in the bank account, the judgment creditor must pay the bank’s legal costs and the account cannot be garnished. A competent collections attorney knows these facts and uses it with patience until he is certain that there are monies to be recovered.

Request a Turnover Order

If previous enforcement attempts are unsuccessful, your attorney might submit a motion for turnover or turnover order. A turnover order is a court order that compels a debtor to give over property that cannot be easily attached to a lien or garnished. The property is auctioned by the local police department to fulfill the judgment after the assets have been transferred. Examples of such property include cash, shares, commissions, and real estate outside Texas. 

If the judgment debtor disobeys a turnover order, he or she might be found in contempt of court and sentenced to prison. And because the turnover order is a public action that forces the debtor to appear in court, it is also a powerful instrument for engaging the debtor in settlement or negotiation of the decision.

Identify Your Expired Date

In Texas, judgments remain active for ten years before becoming inactive. You may renew your judgment before it goes dormant and even seek to resurrect a dormant judgment, however judgments that have been inactive for more than two years may be irretrievable.

As long as you maintain vigilance, your Texas judgment can last forever. There are judgment creditors who have collected older than twenty-year-old judgments.

Avoid Fraudulent Wire Transfers

Certain judgment debtors will do everything to not pay a judgment. We know how this works; our attorneys can provide assistance. The Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act (TUFTA) prohibits debtors from transferring funds with the aim to obstruct, delay, or deceive a judgment creditor.

If the real estate or assets you want inexplicably vanish, you may recover them via legal action. 

What Occurs If a Judgment Goes Against You?

Creditors are often ready to settle a judgment debt for a lower amount or arrange a reasonable payment plan, since they recognize that any money is preferable than nothing or the possibility of bankruptcy.

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