What Assets Can Be Seized with a Texas Judgment?
You were able to prove your case against the debtor and secured a judgment. No doubt you are ready to move forward. After all, you worked hard to provide goods or services and deserve to get paid. Now you just need to know what assets can be seized with a Texas judgment.
First things first. If you figure your best course of action is wage garnishment, think again. The only time the courts will allow a wage attachment is when the money owed is for taxes, support payments, or student loans. You’ll, therefore, have to look into other options.
With wage garnishment out, you will need to do some investigation to determine available assets. This is where it pays to retain an experienced collections attorney. Most often, post-judgment discovery proves to be an integral tool.
Post Judgment Discovery
Discovery is an all-encompassing term used in the litigation process. For example, the creditor may submit a set of written questions to the judgment debtor. These are known as interrogatories and must be answered within a specified time period. A request for a production of documents often accompanies the request for answers to interrogatories.
As you might guess, the focus of the interrogatory questions and document requests is on the debtor’s assets. This could include requests for tax filings, bank statements, as well as personal and real property documentation.
Meanwhile, your attorney can also serve the judgment debtor with a notice to appear for a deposition. At the deposition, the debtor will be required to personally show up and answer questions regarding available assets. Many collection cases are settled at this point.
If the judgment debtor fails to comply with post-judgment discovery requests, your attorney will return to court. The judge will entertain a motion to compel the requested cooperation from the debtor.
Seizable Assets: Texas Judgment
Although most creditors can’t place a wage garnishment, Texas law does not forbid attaching bank accounts for judgment collection. Of course, this involves a formal procedure and actually requires a lawsuit against the financial institution. It does not matter if the bank account is shared with other individuals.
Notwithstanding, certain deposits are exempt from bank garnishment. Deposit of the debtor’s wages is not one of them. However, social security, disability, and retirement income cannot be levied against to satisfy a judgment.
According to the Texas Attorney General, certain real property is exempt from attachment when it comes to collecting on a judgment. More particularly, these are the only times that a homestead can be taken to pay a debt:
- Default on mortgage payments
- Non-payment of home equity loan
- Home improvement costs
Although the list of seizable assets appears limited, judgments in Texas are in effect for ten years. At times, it is prudent to revisit the account to determine new sources that mean payment.