If you just won a judgment in Texas State court for yourself or your client, a seasoned attorney can help you attach a court judgment lien to the property of the debtor and force them to pay what is rightfully yours.
Fortunately, the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer are experts in every aspect of how to file a judgment lien. Judgment lawyer Seth Kretzer is ready to work for you to get you your judgment quickly.
Texas Property Code Chapter 52 governs the procedure for enforcement of a judgment lien in the State of Texas, whether it is a judgment lien on real property or a judgment lien on personal property. Judgment liens in Texas are filed with county or state officials and these prevent the sale, transfer or disposal of certain items of property until a specific debt has been repaid.
A judgment lien on property can be attached to the following items of value, with different rules depending on whether the debtor is an individual or a corporation:
- Real estate holdings
- Cars, trucks, boats and other vehicles
- Sports cards, stamps, and coin collections
Some items of property are exempt from liens or seizure under the Texas Constitution, Chapter 41 of the Code, and other laws. These include:
- The primary residence of a debtor (the “homestead”)
- Cemetery plots purchased and intended for use by the family
- Up to $50,000 of personal property for an individual
- Up to $100,000 in personal items for a Texas family
- Funds in college savings plans
- Retirement plans and accounts
Provided the property is not exempt, an abstract of judgment filed with the county clerk’s office constitutes a lien against and attaches to any real property of the defendant, including any real property that is acquired after the date the abstract of judgment in Texas is recorded.
How to File a Judgment Lien
Here’s how it works. By application of the judgment creditor or their attorney, the court that rendered the judgment must prepare, certify, and deliver to the applicant an abstract of judgment. After the applicant for the abstract of judgment pays the fees required by law for providing the abstract, the county clerk must record, in the real property records of that county, each properly authenticated abstract of judgment. This attaches to property, and in the case of property the debtor is trying to sell, makes it encumbered, or not ready for sale. This creates an incentive for debtors to pay you what they owe.
The abstract of judgment attached to the debtor’s property becomes a judgment lien, which continues for ten (10) years following the date of recording and indexing of the abstract unless the judgment becomes “dormant” from inaction. To prevent dormancy, your attorney must stay engaged in the Texas judgment collection process.
Satisfaction of a judgment may be shown by the recording of a return on a writ of execution issued on the judgment certified by the officer making the return that shows the names of the parties to the judgment; information about the lawsuit; the date and amount of the judgment; and the dates of issuance and return of the execution or by a receipt, acknowledgement, or by a release of the judgment that is signed by the party entitled to receive payment of the judgment or by that person’s agent or attorney of record.
To prevent a judgment lien from being attached to homestead property, a judgment debtor may file an affidavit in the real property records of the county in which the judgment debtor’s homestead is located. An affidavit which properly complies with Chapter 52 of the Texas Civil Code serves as a release of record of a judgment lien; however, the creditor can also file a contradicting affidavit in the real property records of the county in which the real property is located, asserting that the affidavit filed by the judgment debtor is untrue or that another reason exists as to why the judgment lien should be attached despite the creditor’s assertions.
As a judgment lienholder, you also have the option of judgment lien foreclosure – instituting a court action to foreclose on the debtor’s home in order to get paid.
If you or your client has won a judgment, you will need a lawyer with specific experience enforcing judgment liens in Texas and who has the right knowledge and resources to help protect your rights. Call Seth Kretzer at 713-775-3050 to discuss your case.
Post-judgment collection lawyer Seth Kretzer has knowledge of Texas judgment collection cases like yours. The Law Offices of Kretzer and Volberding P.C. can help you get your judgment enforced. We truly understand your situation and will do everything in our power to help you! Contact our offices today!