Enforcing Out-Of-State Judgments: What You Need to Know
Without a doubt, securing a judgment is hard enough. Collecting on it is another matter entirely. Among the issues can be judgments entered by courts outside of Texas. Wondering how that works? Learn the basics of enforcing out-of-state judgments.
Let’s start with some basic terminology. Judgments entered outside Texas are known as foreign judgments. The word “foreign” seems to imply the judgment was entered outside of the country. However, a judgment entered in any state other than Texas is also considered a foreign judgment.
In the meantime, a foreign judgment against a Texas business or resident requires domestication in order to get it enforced. Fortunately, the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act provides a procedure to help in collection efforts.
Domestication of Judgment
The first step in enforcing an out-of-state judgment is domesticating it. In simple terms, this essentially means turning it into a Texas judgment. This is best done with the assistance of an experienced collections attorney.
You may wonder about the reason for pursuing domestication of an out-of-state judgment. As a result of doing so, this allows the judgment holder to pursue all remedies under Texas law. Unless the judgment is domesticated, it cannot be recorded in Texas. Additionally, collection efforts will be thwarted as far as requests for writs of attachment, etc.
As with all legal proceedings, time is an important consideration. Consideration for domestication of a foreign judgment must be done within ten years of the entering of the out-of-state judgment. Your attorney will also need information concerning the date that the debtor either started business in Texas or became a resident.
The Texas Code provides procedural guidelines for domestication of foreign judgments. This includes the filing of affidavits, fees, and notification to the judgment debtor.
Once the judgment has been domesticated, it can be enforced as though it was a judgment initially obtained in the Texas courts.
Enforcing Out of State Judgments
No doubt there is frustration in attempting to enforce any judgment. The fact that the judgment is now considered an enforceable Texas judgment can make the process simpler. However, it is important to note the requirement that the judgment is termed final.
To enforce what is now considered a Texas judgment, the following steps should be made:
- Abstract of the Judgment – Needs to be filed with the county clerk
- Obtain Writ of Execution – Allows you to seize non-exempt property
- Obtain Writ of Garnishment – Includes garnishment of bank or investment accounts
Your attorney will help you through the process, which is made easier if your judgment is against a Texas resident or business.