Post-Judgment Collection

Texas Judgment Collection Strategies

Texas Debt Collection Attorney

A judgment will typically award a sum of money to one of the parties to the case. Once a judgment is entered you still have to enforce the judgment if the judgment debtor (someone that owes money pursuant to a judgment) refuses to pay. Some common judgment collection strategies are outlined below.

Abstract of Judgment

Once you obtain a judgment, the first post-judgment collection method usually entails recording an abstract of judgment in each county in which the judgment debtor owns non-exempt real property. A properly obtained and recorded abstract of judgment will create a judgment lien and thus establish the creditor’s lien priority with respect to the debtor's ownership interest in any non-exempt real estate located in the county where the abstract of judgment is recorded. Because abstracts of judgment are only effective in the county where they are recorded, it is essential that an abstract of judgment be recorded in each and every county where the debtor may own or acquire real estate. Abstracts of judgment need not describe a specific piece of property as they are indexed in county real property records by name and immediately attach to any non-exempt real estate of the debtor.

Writ of Execution

A writ of execution is served on the defendant by the constable or sheriff. This type of writ authorizes the sheriff or constable to levy upon the judgment debtor's non-exempt property (real estate or personal property) located within their jurisdiction. If the judgment debtor owns non-exempt property, the constable or sheriff is supposed to levy and sell the property on the first Tuesday of the month along with the other foreclosure sales.

Writ of Garnishment

The writ of garnishment is also available as a post-judgment debt collection procedure. As in pre-judgment debt collection a writ of garnishment used in post-judgment proceedings requires a third party to describe under oath what money or property of the debtor the third party/garnishee has in its possession. Likewise, the third party/garnishee is prohibited from delivering such money or property to the debtor after the writ of garnishment is served. The third party/garnishee may be required to pay the creditor (garnishor) an amount up to the amount of the creditor’s judgment against the debtor. A creditor seeking a post-judgment writ of garnishment will be eligible for the writ if the creditor holds a valid, subsisting judgment and the creditor submits an affidavit stating that within the creditor’s knowledge the debtor does not possess property in Texas subject to execution sufficient to satisfy the judgment.

Turnover Relief

Creditors in Texas have a procedure to collect valid judgments with court assistance in what is known as a "Turnover Order". The Texas Turnover Statute works along side of the more common post-judgment procedures. The turnover statute is found in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 31.002, which states that "[a] judgment creditor is entitled to aid from a court of appropriate jurisdiction through injunction or other means in order to reach property to obtain satisfaction on the judgment if the judgment debtor owns property, including present or future rights to property, that: (1) cannot readily be attached or levied on by ordinary legal process; and (2) is not exempt from attachment, execution, or seizure for the satisfaction of liabilities."

Read more about Turnover Relief.

Domestication of Foreign Judgments

The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act allows Texas courts to enforce judgments from other states.

Read more about enforcing out of state judgments.