So you’ve been awarded a judgment against the individual or entity that owes you money. Time for them to pay up, right! Unfortunately it is rarely this simple. That judgment you have in your hand certainly has value, but it does not necessarily mean that your recovery efforts are concluded.
As discussed in the previous article, you can obtain from the court an Abstract of Judgment. You can also apply for a Writ of Execution, which allows a Texas sheriff or constable to seize any “nonexempt” real or personal property (cannot be the debtor’s homestead) to satisfy your judgment. However, these remedies are only helpful if your Debtor does in fact own nonexempt property within the state of Texas.
Riding the wave of the internet, companies and individuals alike are making transactions and entering into contracts with out of state customers and suppliers. As a result, it is not uncommon to have a Debtor who owns zero property within this great state. And while you may initially feel great sympathy for the poor soul(s) that have to live somewhere other than Texas, I imagine you ultimately still want to get paid. If so, the Abstract of Judgment and Writ of Execution will not do anything for you.
Thankfully, there is an alternative not confined by state boundaries. In the scenario envisioned above, you can file an application with the court for a Writ of Garnishment. The application must be accompanied by an active judgment and an affidavit stating that, to your knowledge, the Debtor does not possess property in Texas subject to execution and sufficient to satisfy the judgment.
Once issued, the Writ of Garnishment will allow you to acquire property owned by your Debtor while it is in the possession of a third party; and you are not limited to real property. This means that funds held by a bank in the Debtor’s name can be garnished to satisfy your judgment. For obvious reasons, a Writ of Garnishment can be a very effective tool when attempting to enforce a judgment, but as one might expect, there are specific rules and procedures that must be followed. For this reason I encourage you to seek legal counsel from a lawyer with significant experience handling collection matters before initiating a garnishment action.
Williams, McClure & Parmelee is dedicated to high quality legal representation of businesses and insurance companies in a variety of matters. We are experienced Texas civil litigation attorneys based in Fort Worth who know Texas courts and Texas law. For more information, please contact the law firm at 817-335-8800. The firm’s office location is 5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, Texas 76112.