Texas Collection Laws

Bills.com Team
Pro

By Bills.com Team
May 17, 2010

Highlights


  • Review the means available to a creditor to collect on a judgment in Texas.
  • Understand that wages in Texas are usually safe from garnishment from an unsecured creditor.
5.0
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Learn Texas's Rules For Garnishment, Liens, and Foreclosure

If you owe debt and reside in Texas, it is important to understand your rights and liabilities. It is even more important if a creditor threatens to file a lawsuit against you.

A lender, collection agent or law firm that owns a collection account is a creditor. Texas law gives creditors several means of collecting delinquent debt. These methods include wage garnishment, account levy, and, in some cases, seizing personal property.

Before a creditor may use these legal tools in Texas, the creditor must go to court to receive a judgment against you. See the Bills.com article to learn more about this process, and how to fight a lawsuit.

A court will hold a hearing after a creditor files a lawsuit. A hearing may result in a judgment awarded to the creditor. A judgment is a court’s declaration the creditor has the legal right to demand:

The laws calls these remedies. A creditor granted a judgment is called a judgment-creditor. Which tool a judgment-creditor may use depends on the circumstances and Texas law. We discuss each of these remedies below, plus these rules and issues Texas consumers need to know:

Texas Wage Garnishment

The most common method used by judgment-creditors to enforce judgments is wage garnishment. A judgment-creditor contacts your employer and requires the employer to deduct a certain portion of your wages each pay period and send the money to the creditor.

n most states, creditors may garnish between 10% and 25% of your wages, with the percentage allowed determined by state law. Garnishment of or for consumer debt is not allowed under federal law, but may be allowed for child support. See the Bills.com article to learn more.

Texas Garnishment rules are found in . Under CP § 63.004 “Except as otherwise provided by state or federal law, current wages for personal service are not subject to garnishment.” In other words, Texas outlaws wage garnishment for most debts, but not for delinquent child support, tax, or federal student loan payments.

Generally speaking, 401(K) or other retirement funds are exempt from garnishment. It is advisable to have those funds deposited into a separate bank account to ensure financial accounting if you are concerned about garnishment on those payments.

Texas Account Levy

A levy means that the creditor has the right to take whatever money in a debtor’s account and apply the funds to the balance of the judgment. Again, the procedure for levying bank accounts, as well as what amount, if any, a debtor can claim as exempt from the levy, is governed by state law. Many states exempt certain amounts and certain types of funds from bank levies, so a debtor should review his or her state’s laws to find if a bank account can be levied. In some states levy is called attachment or account garnishment. The names may vary but the concept is the same.

In Texas, a levy or attachment is allowed under . Levy is allowed if the plaintiff possesses a legal instrument such as a notice of levy commanding the financial institution for a claim against the account. Texas offers many exemptions for consumers:

  • Homesteads: Generally 100% exempt, except for:
    1. Purchase money liens
    2. Mechanic’s and materialman’s liens for work on that property
    3. Taxes
    Urban homesteads shall not exceed 10 acres and rural homesteads 200 acres for a family, or 100 acres for a single adult.
  • Automobiles: Generally 100% exempt from the claims of third party creditors.
  • Pensions and retirement accounts
  • Tools of the Trade: Tools, equipment, books, machines used in a trade or profession.
  • Jewelry: Not to exceed 25% of the dollar limit for personal property, which is $60,000 for a family, $30,000 for a single adult.
  • Home furnishing, heirlooms, food farming and ranching vehicles, firearms, sporting equipment and certain animals.
  • A dollar cap on exempt personal property: $60,000 for a family and $30,000 for a single adult.
  • Workers' compensation claims (Texas Labor Code 408.201)

See to learn more about the exemptions in the Lone Star State. If you reside in another state, see the Bills.com resource to learn more about the general rules for this remedy.

Texas Lien

A lien is an encumbrance — a claim — on a property. For example, if the debtor owns a home, a creditor with a judgment has the right to place a lien on the home, meaning that if the debtor sells or refinance the home, the debtor will be required to pay the judgment out of the proceeds of the sale or refinance. If the amount of the judgment is more than the amount of equity in your home, then the lien may prevent the debtor from selling or refinancing until the debtor can pay off the judgment.

Texas lien law is tricky and tipped in favor of consumers. Texas allows a lien for a money judgment under . Under , mechanics and contractors (and similar laborers and professionals) a have the right to place a lien on a property. This also includes creditors for unsecured debt (credit cards, auto loans, and so on), see Texas law .

Texas homeowners can protect their residence by filing a homestead declaration. A Texas homestead is not a flawless shield against creditors, however. A homestead is not exempt from liens, but is exempt from any seizure or forced sale attempting to enforce the lien (Exocet, Inc. v. Cordes, 815 S.W.2d 350, 352 (Tex. App. ? Austin 1991, no writ)).

If you reside in another state, see the Bills.com article to learn more.

Texas Statutes of Limitations

Each state or commonwealth has its own statute of limitations on civil matters. Here are some of Texas’s statute of limitations for consumer-related issues:

Account/Type Years Statute
Texas statutes of limitations. Source: Bills.com
Credit card 4
Spoken contract 4
Written contract 4
Mortgage contract 4
Promissory note 6
Judgment 10*
* Can be renewed () A non-Texas judgment may be domesticated in Texas (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 35.003 and § 16.066)

When the statute of limitations clock starts depends on the circumstances and the particular statute. In most states, the clock starts after the cause of action accrues. Texas follows the general rule (Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.004(a)). The clock may be paused (called "tolled") under some circumstances, or renewed (Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.063).

ollection agents violate the if they file a debt collection lawsuit against a consumer after the statute of limitation expired (Kimber v. Federal Financial Corp. 668 F.Supp. 1480 (1987) and Basile v. Blatt, Hasenmiller, Liebsker & Moore LLC, 632 F. Supp. 2d 842, 845 (2009)). Unscrupulous collection agents sue in hopes the consumer will not know this rule.

See the Bills.com resource if you reside in another state.

Texas Collection Agent Laws

When a debt collector tries to collect a debt from a Texas resident, it must comply with both and the federal . A violation of the Texas law may result in criminal or civil penalties. A violation of Texas Title 5 Chapter 392 is also a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which provides for triple money damages in certain circumstances.

Collection agents need not be licensed in Texas or their home state. A collection agent collecting in Texas must file a $10,000 surety bond with the Texas secretary of state before engaging in debt collection. The secretary of state offers a form consumers can use to learn if the collection agent contacting them filed a bond properly. if a debt collector or credit bureau violated Texas Chapter 392 by engaging in a false, misleading, or deceptive practices.

Spousal Debt in Texas & Community Property

Texas follows the common law doctrine of necessaries. This means each spouse is legally liable for the expenses necessary to support the other spouse. Examples of necessary expenses include required medical care, shelter, and food. Parents are legally liable to support their minor children.

Texas is a community property state. This means that Texas presumes property purchased, wealth created, and debts incurred while married are community property. However, Texas recognizes separate property acquired before and during marriage. Generally, pre-marital debt is considered "separate property" and does not become community property automatically upon marriage. Community property rules can be tricky and altered by pre-nuptial agreements, so consult with a Texas lawyer who has family law experience if you have a question about Texas family law.

Texas Foreclosure

Texas foreclosure laws are found in to learn more about the rules surrounding foreclosure in this state, including deficiency balances (Property code § 51.003-51.005). Texas has no anti-deficiency rule. See also the Bills.com resource to learn more.

Texas Payday Loan Collection

See the Bills.com resource to learn how Texas law protects consumers of payday loans.

Recommendation

Consult with a Texas attorney experienced in civil litigation, consumer law, or bankruptcy to receive precise answers to your questions about liens, levies, and garnishment in Texas.

5.0
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107 Comments

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  • 35x35
    Feb, 2013
    J
    I had a judgment entered against me in 2003 in Dallas County Texas. On my credit report, it says it is scheduled to fall off my record in 9/2013. I recently received a notice in the mail from a new creditor, trying to collect money for their customer who are the ones that originally filed judgment on me. Does this mean they sold the debt to a collection agency? If so, can the firm that filed judgment against me still try to collect any money owed? For example, try to levy my bank account. Also, since the debt is so old (2003), is there much the new collection agency can do to collect?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2013
      Bill
      A Texas judgment is valid for 10 years from the date of recording. This can be renewed another 10 years for as long as the judgment is unpaid.

      A judgment-creditor is allowed to sell a judgment to someone else. This is called an assignment, and the "someone else" who usually buys judgments are collection agents. Whoever possesses the right to collect on the judgment may do so. See the original answer above to learn about the Texas rules for liens, account levies, and wage garnishment.

      The collection agent may use whatever legal means Texas law allows to collect the debt until the judgment expires. However, as I mentioned, the judgment owner has the right to renew the judgment before it expires. Consult with a Texas lawyer who has consumer law or bankruptcy experience to learn more about your rights as a Texas resident.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2013
    Matthew
    In Texas, first lender forclosed, second secured lender got nothing. Can 2nd file for Deficiency Judgment? and if so, when does statute of limitations run out (2 years, 4 years from forclosure, or four years from payoff due date of the Second? Thank you
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2013
      Bill
      I have not researched Texas case law on this matter, so the observation I offer here is incomplete.

      Texas Title 5, Subtitle B, Chapter 51 concerns Texas' foreclosure and deficiency law. Texas statutes do not distinguish between junior and senior mortgages or deeds of trust regarding foreclosures and deficiency balances.

      You asked about the statute of limitations for collecting a Texas deficiency. In Section 51.003, we find the following:
      If the price at which real property is sold at a foreclosure sale under Section 51.002 is less than the unpaid balance of the indebtedness secured by the real property, resulting in a deficiency, any action brought to recover the deficiency must be brought within two years of the foreclosure sale and is governed by this section.
      As mentioned at the start of my comment, my answer is incomplete. Access a Texas Shepard's Citations or online equivalent to learn how Texas courts have decided the junior deficiency judgment and Sec 51.003 issues.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2012
    Kristy
    I have several defaulted payday loans and have been receiving scam/phishing calls for a year now from foreigners telling me I applied for this or that and providing my personal information. Some of the callers who are almost all with foreign accents tell me that if I don't return their calls, I will only be wished good luck and that of my life and my child. I reported some of the numbers to the IC3, FBI, local police department, BBB, and my state attorney general's office. My banking institution told me that the fine print in the contracts say that my personal information will be sold and in fact I have had money drafted from my account from companies that were not authorized. I refuse to pay any company now as I am afraid I am being scammed and I do not know what companies to trust. I am fearful that I will be sued for the loan defaults. Is there a company that will allow me to consolidate my payday loans only or mediate on my behalf. I honestly don't know what companies/phone numbers and representatives I can trust.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2012
    Candy
    I was contacted about about a debt that I know was last paid on in 6/2006 if that late (I was injured & suddenly making about 1/10th of my salary). I pulled my credit reports 8/11 and all 3 had no negative posts on them after working very hard to pull myself out of the mud. Then I got a call from a debt collector yesterday claiming she was going to file a civil suit over a $1000.00 CC bill that has now grown to over $2200.00. She said that she had gotten one of the credit bureaus (it kept changing which one) to accept the debt from 2002-2007. Again, I pulled all 3 & all positive. She claimed she would file first that evening, then Monday morning, and to have my lawyer call her. They are rated "F" on the BBB site - so how do I know this is for real or not? If it is, does the SOL protect me, as I am a severely disabled senior citizen & the only money in my bank account is from SS. Is that protected as it is auto-deposited?Or can my account be frozen?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2012
      Bill
      This sounds like a scam. While the collector can file suit against you, you can use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense.

      My guess is the collector is trying to intimidate you into paying and will not file suit, once you make it clear that you are not going to pay and have an understanding of your rights.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2012
    Angie
    Hello, I recently have a judgment on me (even though I have yet to receive the paperwork) I have an active bank account which I know can be seized, however the only money that I receive from this account is money that is either being deposited from Unemployment and my tuition money from Financial Aid at my school. Can the debt collector touch that money? Am I protected? Please advise. Thank you Bills :)
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2012
      Bill
      Levy of a financial account is allowed under Texas Title 3, Subtitle A, Chapter 59. However, there are many exemptions available to Texas residents (Texas Property Code Title 5, Subtitle A, Chapter 42). I am unable to find a statute that protects unemployment benefits or grants for tuition from account levy. That does not mean they are unprotected completely. The problem is a practical one: If the judgment-creditor does not give you notice of a pending levy, and seizes the amount in your account, it may take you time and money to get the money returned. I hate to advise this, but in this situation, your safest course of action is to move the unemployment benefit and financial aid funds to another person's account. You must be able to trust this person will not be tempted to dip into your funds. Alternatively, take the student aid money out as cash and place it in safe-deposit box so it is secured and you are not tempted to spend it on non-school items.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2012
    Dave
    Can a collection agency pursue a 16 year old for a bill related to an ambulance ride? It took place in Texas.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Bill
      Dave, in almost every state a collection agency can try to collect even on debts that have passed the statute of limitations.

      I suggest that you validate the debt, if you just received written notice. You can use the statute of limitations as a defense, if you are sued, though you may want to speak with a lawyer to make sure that nothing took place that stopped the SOL from running.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Charles
    I have a $3,500.00 judgment lien on a rental property in Texas placed by the attorneys representing an Ex-wife. The judgment was rendered in June of 2002 however the lien was filed in August of 2002. Barring any renewal of the lien, when should I be able to sell the property without proceeds going to cover the lien? Also, does the lien automatcally become inefective or do I need to file something with the county?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      The lifetime of a judgment-lien in Texas is 10 years (Property Title 5, Subtitle B, Chapter 52). Consult with a Texas lawyer to make certain my interpretation of Texas law is accurate, and to learn how to remove a lien if its life has ended.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    D
    My mother who lives in Texas and is almost 70 years old, received a call from a collector for a debt that is several years old. The credit card belonged to my father who passed away in 2002. My mothers name was on the account, when my father passed she sent them a death certificate as they requested. Now she is getting calls that her Social Security check will be garnished, and a lien be placed on her house. Please can you give me some advise, is this even legal for them to threaten her like this?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      I can't give you legal advice, as only a lawyer can properly do so, but I will share a few thoughts.

      The threats are improper. Her Social Security cannot be garnished for this kind of debt. I think that she should speak with a lawyer who handles cases involving violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. She should not pay a penny towards this debt. If she receives anything in writing from the collector, she should validate the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Jael
    My accounts have all been frozen by an attorney's office that have court ordered their judgment against me. I don't have much money. And anything I do have I need to pay bills. I've talked to them twice and both times they claim that they will verify my funds with my credit union and call me back. They never do. I owe a bit over $10,000. They want me to make a large payment but I have $200 to my name. I want to make arrangements or do something, but they won't return my calls. My husband is about to get paid, but its too late to stop the direct deposit, which means we have no money to pay anything. I don't know what to do. We live in Texas though, so I know they can't garnish my wages. But what can I do at this point? How long can they freeze my account? Will I get in trouble if I stop the direct deposit (and how can I not when I have bills to pay)?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      I know of no law requiring a person to deposit funds into an account that a judgment-creditor has placed a levy upon. My advice? Open an account at a different credit union or local bank.
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    C
    I am being sued by Equatable Assets for a little over $3000. This is in Harris County, TX. I have yet to be served but I can look up the case online. It doesn't give me information like court date or any other info. Long story short...do you recommend getting a debt lawyer? I am willing to settle for less but how would I go about doing that? Is it possible to set up a payment plan? Also...if they put a levy against my banking account would it be for the whole amount at one time or once a month? Also...I owe the IRS $4000+ this year so would that have any effect on the case( I am guessing no) Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      You can't suffer levies until a judgment is obtained against you. A bank levy in Texas can take all of the money in your account, up to the amount you owe. Wages have strong protections in Texas, so it is likely your wages are safe from garnishment. Because of this, if you keep funds out of your bank account, there is not much a judgment-creditor can do in Texas. That increases your ability to reach a settlement. Try to work out something, before a court case.

      Regarding your IRS tax debt, it will not affect your other debt. If you filed the return already, contact the IRS to set up a payment plan. If you have not yet filed the return, make sure to file on time or file an extension on time, so you don't get hit with the onerous late filing penalty. You can include a request for a payment plan with your return. The size of the required monthly payment to the IRS should not be more than $90.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Jason
    I had a collection company contact me in regards to a credit card debt from 2004. They said the debt was still open until 2006 so they have another year to collect. The debt was obtained when I lived in Kansas but moved to Tezas last September. The female advised me that I have 24 hours to pay the debt before they submit court docs and possibly garnish my wages. I want to know what, if any, rights this company has. The debt seems so old to be coming after me and now that I am in Texas I do not think my wages can be garnished but worry my bank account can be froze or something. Any sort of insight would be fantastic. thank you,
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Reread the original answer above to understand your rights as a Texas resident. Just because a voice on the telephone tells you he or she may garnish your wages does not make the statement truthful or accurate.

      I assume the collection agent was referring to the 7½-year rule that controls how long a derogatory may appear on your credit report. If so, that rule has no bearing on how long a collection agent may collect the debt.

      My advice? Validate the debt. Do so immediately. A debt a collection agent cannot validate may not be collected.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Jason
      Thank you for the response. So it appears Texas is a non-garnishment state for credit card debt. My other question is the 4 year statue of limitations. Does this mean that since this debit is older than 4 years there is not much they can do? I just feel they are trying to scare me into paying. Just a little clarification. Thank you again
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Just because a statute of limitations has passed does not mean a creditor is barred from collecting a debt, except in Wisconsin and North Carolina. The passing of a statute of limitations gives a defendant in a lawsuit an affirmative defense, and nothing more. A collection agent or original creditor working on a debt older than a state's statute of limitations may contact the consumer to attempt to collect the ancient debt (except in Wisconsin). It can even file a lawsuit against the consumer. However, the consumer has an affirmative defense if there is such a lawsuit. If the affirmative defense is successful, then the court will dismiss the case.

      It is a common misperception when a state statute of limitations passes a collection agent must stop collecting a debt. However, except in two states, a debt is still collectable and a lawsuit is still possible when a statute of limitations passes.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    John
    I currently live in Texas (four months), and recently found work here. The Federal Credit Union that has "selected my account for legal review" is in Michigan. Before I moved to Texas, I lived in Massachusetts for 18 years. Does the Federal Credit Union in Michigan have any legal standing here in Texas, in my current situation, to garnish my wages from my B of A checking account? I realize there are strict laws here in Texas prohibiting wage garnishment, but what about for Credit Unions in other states (or here, even), are there special provisions or loop-holes for Credit Unions that would allow them to somehow garnish my wages here? Also, should I consider closing my B of A checking account (my only account, and my only "asset") that gets direct deposit from my job here in Texas, just in case there is a bank levy and/or wage garnishment that might occur (ie, from a judgement brought against me either here or in another state that I may not have been informed about)? I'm not saying that there IS a judgement against me here or in another state, just that I've heard of these things happening without proper notice to the defendant (me!)...
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      There are two exceptions I know of to Texas' wage garnishment prohibition:
      • Administrative offset by a tax authority, SSA, or the Dept. of Education
      • A child support order

      I am not aware of any exceptions granted by Texas to credit unions.

      Texas does not prohibit account levies, which are called account garnishments or account freezes in some states. Therefore, any bank or credit union account in your name and Social Security number is at risk for levy. Consider opening an account at a small local bank, which may be more difficult for a potential judgment-creditor to find. Your observation about judgment-creditors failing to give a judgment-debtor proper notice of a levy is borne out by complaints voiced by fellow Bills.com readers.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Stacy
    (I live in Arlington Texas, BTW)...I don't know what just now made me look this company up but Ijust found tons of complaints about them on several different websites and I'm really freaked out right now. Here is the story...I've been paying them over $200/mo for several months now to pay down a debt from GE Money Bank/CareCredit. First, they have my bank info for auto drafts each month. Also, I'm paying back the full debt amount, does that mean I'm getting screwed as most people say they are settling to pay less? Can I settle for less? My total will take me another year to pay off and quite frankly we don't have the funds to pay for this full amount at this time. Sadly this all happened because my husband received over 3 pay cuts last year and I called GE Money to try to see if they could help me out, work with me in some way by lowering my God-awful interest rate (29%!!!) or something. They refused said "sorry we can't do anything". I was very, very nice to them. I begged, literally and said that I did not want to stop paying my bills. I've never in my life done that but that right now my necessities were not able to be paid and I needed help or this bill would not be paid. A woman from GE Money said that if I stopped paying my bill and let it go delinquent that they could put me on a payment plan (thru them) for $50/month. Yeah my stupid self fell for that and did it. By then I was getting letters from Zwicker & Assoc -- the company I'm writing about that I'm concerned with. So here I am. And now I'm a little freaked out and want to know if I can't stop my payments and settle the debt or actually what can I do? What worries me most is that they have my bank account number and many comments on the complaint sites state they've had their accounts wiped clean! I'm not sure how any company with the complaints I've read can be legally functioning as a business. How does someone not shut them down? How is this even possible to legally work in the manner that they do???? What can I do? I'm scared to even call for fear they will take all my money because they will worry I'm going to stop paying them.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Hindsight is 20/20, Stacy, so do not be too hard on yourself.

      First, read Debt Settlement Advice to learn the tactics for negotiating a settlement agreement with a collection agent.

      Second, consider closing the account Zwicker & Assoc. is debiting monthly. Before you do so, consult with your bank or credit union to learn the procedure you must follow for shutting off the ACH transfer. Once the ACH is shut off, open a new account with your bank or credit union that has no connection to the tainted account. If the bank or credit union cannot promise you future ACH transfers will not be offset from your new account, change banks.

      Third, once you are back in the driver's seat again, and you are certain the ACH issue is behind you, open negotiations with the collection agent. Do not, under any circumstances, allow Zwicker & Assoc. to have ACH access to your account. If the collection agent will not negotiate reasonably, do not back down and do not beg. Remember, you have what they want — your money.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Candace
    Today I received a phone call from a law office in Houston. They plan to file a lawsuit against my husband for a student loan. We have no property or bank acounts so what can we expect as far as judgement goes the amount is $14,000.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      If your husband has a private student loan and resides in Texas, his wages should be protected by Texas' strong prohibition against wage garnishment. Any bank accounts with his name on it will be subject to garnishment. If you reside in another state, then the collection laws of that state will apply to wages and assets.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Robert
    I have a judgment placed on my credit from a vehicle I had a voluntary repossession on back in '02. Judgment was placed on my credit in 06'. Is there any time length that it will fall off of my credit so that I can purchase a house, or do I need to take care of it. ( It's a large amount!)
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Credit judgments in Texas last for 10 years and can be renewed. If you want to buy a home, I strongly believe that you will have to show any potential lender's underwriter that you have satisfied the judgment.

      Given the fact that Texas has strong protections for your wages from a wage garnishment, it can be hard for judgment-creditors in Texas to collect on a debt. A bank levy is one method a judgment-creditor can use, but if your creditor is not having luck collecting, you may be able to satisfy the judgment by offering a lump sum settlement for a lot less than you owe. Always get an agreement in writing, before paying the settlement.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Ashley
    Hi, I have a judgement in Missouri for credit card debt. It is over 10years old. I owed 7000, but now its is 15000 with the interest. Recently half of my check was garnished. They served me at work and said they will continue to garnish until it is payed. I thought Texas was a non garnish state. How was Missouri able to garnish in Texas. My job is in Texas, but there is a sister company of my employer in Missouri. Can the state of Missouri garnish my wages in Texas were I work? Ashley
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      The Texas Office of the Attorney General states the rule succinctly: "First and foremost, the Texas Constitution, unless superseded by a federal law that permits a federal agency to garnish a Texan's wages, prohibits the garnishment of wages for debts other than child or spousal support. If an employer receives a garnishment order against a Texas employee's wages (perhaps from a creditor in a sister state) that is not a child or spousal support income withholding instrument, the employer is prohibited by Texas law from complying with the garnishment order."

      Talk to a manager in your employer's payroll department. Acquaint them with Texas Property Code Sec. 42.001 (b) (1). If your payroll department does not comply with Texas law, contact the Texas Attorney General's office.
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    John
    I have about $8,000 in unsecured debt and a possible vehicle repossession that will flop about $10,000 against me that was due to my wife's unemployment. Are there Texas Levy Exceptions or limitations on bank accounts? I understand that a levy can be placed on my bank accounts in Texas for these debts, however are there restrictions on how the levies are placed and deployed? Such has: having a spouse that has been unemployed, a 2 year old child, and with limited family income?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      Before any of the types of creditors you listed can levy a bank account, it first must sue you and get a judgment against you. With a judgment in hand, your bank accounts are at risk, as Texas collection laws allow any money in your account to be taken in a bank levy, although there are strong wage protections for wages earned in Texas. Your bank account can be levied, even if your spouse is unemployed, you have a young child, and earn limited income.

      I recommend that you look into debt settlement as an option.
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2011
    Erica
    I am facing a private student loan default at the end of this month. I have tried to settle with the original lender but they were not willing to settle for less than 50% of the balance. If my lender sends my account to an attorney and obtains a judgement against me, can they garnish my wages? I live in New Mexico but work in Texas. Am I protected from wage garnishment under Texas law?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2011
      Bill
      Your creditor can sue you in New Mexico and then domesticate the court judgment in Texas. Texas does not allow wage garnishment for judgment-creditors, including those from sister-states. Wage garnishment is allowed for child support and federal student loans.

      Student loans are not generally dischargeable in a bankruptcy. Also, wage garnishments are only one possible negative income from a court judgment, as the creditor can also place a lien on your personal property and levy your bank account. I recommend you consider a settlement with your creditor, including a payment plan, if you cannot afford a lump-sum settlement.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    Linda
    A judgement was placed today in a Justice of the Peace court in Texas. My question is, can they take the money out of my checking or savings account I have at my Credit Union? The Credit Union is based here in Texas and does not have any offices outside the State of Texas.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      Yes, if you have a court judgment against you, and the creditor (the plaintiff) has a court ordered levy notice, then a bank levy can be made against your checking or savings credit union account in Texas.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Lacey
      If a judgement is placed against you, can they place a lein against our IRA Cds?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Retirement accounts are exempt from collections under Texas law.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    I was called and informed that I was going to have a judgment placed against me from a previous employer for around $500 that they say I owe them and another $500 in legal fees for the filings. I was contacted by a supposed arbitrator who says that my case will be decided without me in court as it is a closed door proceeding. Can this happen? And if so is there any circumstance that they can garnish my wages in any way even if a judgment is found in their favor? Also could they take money directly from my bank account?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      It is not clear to me who called you, but I think it wise for you to proceed cautiously.

      The first thing to do when you are initially contacted about a debt is to validate the debt. Next, understand that the Texas Debt Collection Act prevents collectors from harassing, abusing, threatening or making false claims. I suggest that you contact the Texas Office of the Attorney General and file a complaint online. The Attorney General's office has some detailed information about debt collection in Texas.

      Wage garnishment protections are strong in Texas, so you are likely free from that threat, but if there is a judgment against you, your bank account is at risk.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    Adam
    I am considering relocating to Texas from Florida. I owe quite a bit, including a 35K judgment. Currently, in Florida, as Head of Household, my wages cannot be garnished nor can they take funds from my joint account (they could take money from an individual account, if there were any money there). If I relocate, can a creditor get funds out of our joint account or is this the same as Florida, where only the personal account can be attached, since my wife has nothing to do with my debts (which were all incurred prior to our marriage).
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      The moment you cross the Texas border with the intent of becoming a Texas resident you become subject to Texas collection laws, and not Florida law. I strongly discourage the use of joint accounts because, generally speaking, they cause more trouble than they are worth. If two or more people need to share funds, open separate accounts at the same bank or credit union and use that institution's online banking function to transfer money as needed.

      The general rule across most states is that joint accounts are fair game for judgment-creditors. I confess I do not know if Texas follows that rule, but I would assume it does. Readers? Please respond below if you know whether joint accounts are immune from account levy in Texas.
      5 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Candy
    I have this collection agency contacting me in regards to a payday loan that was taking in Nov 2007. Do they have the option to take me court in the state of Texas.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      A Texas payday lender is not prohibited from filing a civil action against a borrower. See Payday Loans & Hot Checks in Texas and the original answer above for a discussion of this issue.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Steve
    A university-based aquatics club, here in Austin TX, sent us a letter saying that they conducted an audit of their system and turns out they did not charge some of the feeds over three years while my daughter was a member there. We quit a year before receiving the first letter. All the time while she was a member they had out credit card on file and not they say we owe them $1500. Is there a limit on how far they can demand payment, especially since they are a victim of their own incompetence?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      No, there is no time limit on the length of time that may pass before a creditor may no longer ask for a payment, except in Wisconsin. The statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that a defendant may use should the creditor file a lawsuit against the defendant.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    John
    I have a couple of charged off credit cards and still have a collection company trying to collect payment. We are in the process of moving out of state and wondered if the they could proceed in garnishing wages outside of Texas, or does it depend on what state the debt was incurred?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      The laws of the state where you reside matter. If, for example, you move to a state that allows wage garnishment, then if a creditor files a lawsuit against you in your new state of residence and wins, then it will receive a judgment. With that judgment in hand, the creditor has the option to garnish your wages, levy your bank accounts, or place a lien on your property. If for example, you move to a state that outlaws wage garnishment for creditors, then a judgment-creditor may not be granted an order for a wage garnishment.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Rachal
    I have an auto loan with an ex-fiance. I'm the borrower and he is the co-borrower and we are both owners listed on the title. The debt is for $24,500 and after the car goes to auction I figure we'll collectively owe around 10k but I'm overshooting it to plan for the worst. He has been the one paying for the car and has possession of the vehicle. He has stopped paying for the loan so they are calling both of us to satisfy the debt. I cannot pay for the car and if the collectors have a judgement can they levy a bank account is my husbands name. I get the loan before we were married but the loan just went into default in September. He is not listed on the loan at all. Would a judge split the debt between the co-signer and I? Or would the collection agency go after both of us for the entire amount. I don't mind paying half of the debt but I cannot pay all of it. Do collectors typically levy bank accounts to satisfy a debt or do they only do it when the debt is substantial enough?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      I can't give you legal advice, only an attorney can do so, but I will share a few thoughts.

      Until you are sued and a judgment is entered against you, your bank account cannot be levied. Texas has strong wage protections, so even if you have a judgment, your wages should be safe from attachment.

      The debt is not going to be split, but you and your ex-fiance will each be viewed as 100% responsible for the debt.

      You can try to work out some kind of repayment plan, once the car is auctioned and a deficiency balance is in place. Until then, maybe you can assume the payments and take possession of the car, if you can work this out with both your ex and the finance company.

      My guess, note the word choice, is that that your husband's bank account that is held solely in his name could not be attached unless he was listed on the judgment. Because Texas is a Community Property state, I suggest you consult with a Texas attorney, so you can receive an authoritative answer.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Pam
    We had a large water leak about 4 years ago, that we never knew we had. It was around $2,000. The co-op water company said that we could just pay what we could, extra, every month and at the next meeting they would see if they could do anything for us. They didn't. They sent a letter last March saying that we had to pay $100 a month, plus the monthly bill, or they would turn off the water. No contract was signed between us promising we could pay that. I am willing to pay the water dept the money back on the leak, but I cannot pay $100 per month plus the $40 to $50 bill. I have consulted an attorney about this and he was rude and said I had to pay this amount back, accusing me of not wanting to pay back for the leak, but I could file bankruptcy. Does the water dept have the right to turn my water off if I dont pay the extra $100 per month? They are also charging me a late fee of $3.00 every month when I have been paying on time.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      I don't know whether or not the Water Co. can rightly deny you service or not. I certainly hope that you are not left without such a basic need, especially when you are willing to work out a repayment plan.

      I suggest that you speak with the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. The Attorney General's Web site says, "Although we may not have authority over your water supplier, you can contact our office with billing complaints."
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Cherie
    I do not have any judgements against me, but have a few credit cards that were charged off.. One company currently is contacting me wanting money.. They called my brother at work and my husband at work.. Can they do this? I'm not sure exactly when these credit cards were charged of ..
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a collection agent may call people other than the debtor to learn how best to contact the debtor. However, the collection agent may not disclose details about the debt, and may not harass the other people.

      You mentioned the phrase charge off twice in your message. Many consumers misunderstand and overemphasize what that accounting term means. See the link I just mentioned to learn more.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Flor
    I got sued by a debt collector, if I get a judgment, would they go after my husband's bank account? I have no money in my account and doesn't work so they can get nothing from me. Does the judgment also comply my husband to pay for it? Will he affected by the judgment? He has his own bank account for his direct deposit paycheck and also we have a joint account that has no money in it, will the creditor would be able to freeze that account too? Please help. I just got served today and I am just trying to brace myself for the coming of this suit.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I can't give you legal advice, but will share some thoughts with you.

      If your husband is not a party to the debt, then he should not be named in the suit and not be subject to collection efforts. Bank accounts that have your name on it are at risk of levy, if a judgment is obtained against you. Accounts solely held in your spouse's name are not subject to collection if he is not named on the judgment.

      Because Texas is a community property state, things can be more complicated. When the debt was incurred or how the asset that was purchased was used can be important.

      You should consult with an attorney, to know how best to protect your family's assets.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Edwin
    I just received a letter telling me that I owe a finance company almost $5000 for a vehicle which I surrendered a few months ago. I called them and made payment arrangements, and the guy I spoke with wanted me to pay $170 a month for 3 to 4 months, then possibly raise the payment amount. That amount, although possible, would cause me to struggle with all my other monthly bills. If I was to send the $50 a month, can they still take action against me, or do they have to accept it as payment? The company is located out of Nevada, while I reside in Texas. I have tried to research this question, and have no luck.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Please read the Bills.com resource If I Pay a Small Amount on My Debt, Can I Be Sued? for a discussion of this issue.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Edwin
      Ok, read it. Thank you. I want to "keep them out of my hair", but don't want to put myself in the streets doing it. I heard one creditor tell my sister that they didn't care if her child got fed or not, they just wanted their money. Honest truth.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Brian
    I had a loan that i defaulted on years back, but before the statue of limitations ran out, there was a Judgement filed against me, and this attorney levied my checking account and took all of my savings and payroll out really quick, so therefor I hired an attorney to try and settle the debt but this attorney is not responding to any letters nor phone calls that my attorney has sent to him regarding a settlement, what can I do from here????
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      You are in a tough spot because once the creditor received a judgment, you lost a great deal of leverage in negotiating a settlement. Also, you mentioned the levies on your financial accounts, but not the amount of the judgment and the amount the judgment-creditor recovered. If the judgment-creditor recovered a significant fraction of the judgment, you may never hear from the judgment-creditor again. On the other hand, if you still owe a large amount, you may have to put up with occasional raids on your financial accounts.

      It is really in the best interest of the opposing attorney to respond to your offer of a final settlement, and I cannot fathom a reason why it would ignore you.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Robin
    I have student loans in the amount of 56,000 I live in Texas and it's been since 2007. After graduation the economy went south and I haven't been able to find a job making enough money to pay back my loans. My question is can they take our vehicle or our bank account. We have nothing else, lost our house again due to bad economy. We have been hit hard and had to move into a family member's house we are not even paying rent right now. What can they do to us, your advice please.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Texas has strong protections for vehicles, so your vehicles should be beyond reach. If there is a judgment against you, then your bank account is at risk. Until there is a judgment, no bank levy can take place. If your loans are federal student loans, your tax refunds are at risk.

      I hope that things improve for you and your family.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Lynn
    I have been informed that a check I wrote in Texas 2001/2002 has criminal collection charges against it. I have been gone from Texas since 2003. While I can site all sorts of circumstances surrounding why the check did not get paid, the bottom line is I did not have criminal intent when I wrote the check. What options do I have? I would think the statute of limitations would cover me but this statement in the Texas Code is a concern:ABSENCE FROM STATE AND TIME OF PENDENCY OF INDICTMENT, ETC., NOT COMPUTED. (a) The time during which the accused is absent from the state shall not be computed in the period of limitation... Does this mean the entire time I have been away from Texas has stretched the time I can be charged for this? Please, any information is helpful. They want to extradite me and unfortunately I did not know the check never was paid. Not using that as an excuse, but It was a difficult situation to say the least.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      You cite Texas Title 1. Code Of Criminal Procedure Chapter 12. Limitation Art. 12.05, which tolls — pushes the pause button on the statute of limitations clock — when the accused does not reside in Texas for criminal matters. If this is a criminal matter, the statute of limitations clock stopped when you became a resident outside of Texas.

      You asked if this is a criminal matter. Some states consider writing a check with insufficient funds in the account a crime, and Texas is one of them. See Texas Penal Code Title 7. Offenses Against Property, Chapter 32. Fraud, Sec. 32.41. Issuance Of Bad Check.

      There are two key facts missing from your message. First, what was the amount of the hot check? If it was a couple hundred dollars, I cannot see any Texas DA giving this case the time of day. Second, you do not mention who is telling you there are criminal charges against you, and you may be indicted. If it is the DA's office in the city or county where the hot check was written, then you can believe those communications. However, if a collection agent is telling you these things, then you must be very skeptical. If a collection agent is attempting to collect the old debt, validate the debt immediately. Follow the steps on the page I just mentioned precisely. However, if a Texas DA office has contacted you, consult with a lawyer in your state who has consumer law experience to learn what, if any, laws protect you in your state. Do this immediately.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Lynn
      Thanks for your quick reply. I really appreciate the insight. The amount of the check was $4900 and the DA is telling me the things I am telling you. So let me make sure I understand what I am facing... Criminal charges for one. And secondly, the statute of limitations do not apply to me because I am out of the state of Texas. Which implies that this is going to be on-going and will stay with me until I can take care of it, and financially I am really no better off now than then.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      DAs usually do not have the time to make idle threats against people, and are duty-bound not to lie to people, so your safest assumption is to believe whatever statements the DA tells you. But before I leave this subject, are you certain it is the DA contacting you? Have you received written correspondence from the DA? Have you looked up the DA office telephone number online and then called that number?

      As I mentioned, consult with a lawyer in your state about this issue. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call your county bar association and ask for the name of the organization that provides no-cost legal services in your area for people with low or no income. Make an appointment with that organization and bring all of the documents regarding the debt to your meeting. A lawyer you meet will advise you accordingly.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Lynn
      Yes, I am sure this was the DA because I called incredulous that this was happening. I will do as you have suggested and consult a lawyer in my state to see what needs to be done, what legal covering I may or may not have. Thank you very much.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    David
    I have just been notified by my employer that they have received a notice to garnish my wages for a collection agency which has apparently been awarded a judgment against me from a California court. This is related to a bad credit card debt. I was never notified or made aware that this company had sued me. I am a seasonal employee so I will not be returning to work until January 2012. When I do return, can my Texas wages be garnished by this California judgement? I live and work in Texas, but my employer is headquartered out of Missouri.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    Vicky
    I recently received a Post-Judgment Interrogatories from American Express Company on a credit card about 3-4 years ago that I charged on. Do I have to fill it out and send it back? Because I can't afford for them to levy my bank account. I have a job but it pays bad and being a single mother has been really tough on me. Should I go ahead and contact the Creditor's Law Firm and see about negotiating some kind of payment even if its not the entire amount of what I owed? I have spoken with a lawyer before and they told me that we are protected by Texas consumer civil rights that they can't touch your personal belongings or your accounts. So what are my rights being a residence of Texas? What should I do now??! Please help!!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      Consult with a Texas attorney to learn if the replying to the interrogatory is voluntary or compulsory. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call your county bar association and ask for the name of the organization in your area that provides no-cost legal services to people in your area with no or low income. Make an appointment with that organization, and bring all of the documents relating to the debt and judgment (including the interrogatory) to your meeting. The lawyer you meet will advise you accordingly.

      You asked about your rights as a Texas resident. Please reread the original answer above for an overview of your rights and liabilities. Ask any follow-up questions you may have to the lawyer you meet.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    Bernice
    Got divorce last year and I also lost income at my job ( about 1200.00 a month) I was unable to keep sending money to all credit cards and I am over 6 months behind in 4 of them. I called them before requesting to lower rated and they refuse so I stop making payments to citi, hsbc, chase ( two of the accounts where closed by me more than a year when I stop sending payments)I have a debt of about 30k on credit cards, most of that debt was made by my exhusband and after divorce I no longer get economical help from him. I have two car loans and I have some credit cards that I am still making payments. I am getting many phone calls from bill collectors, I just can not afford to make more payments until I am done with the ones I am paying right now. I live check after check, allways looking for options to get xtra income to keep going. I dont have a mortgage or a home, only two car loans that I am paying every month, I call several debt collectors agencies and for some reason dont believe that they are trustfull at all. I am concern that collection agencies can do something against me. I am in Texas and wonder if bankrupcy is an option. I am trying to avoid that but getting scare of what they can do against me. Before I stop making payments I called them and asked them for options and refuse to hel since I was current on the accounts. I really appreciate any suggestion
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      I hope that when you wrote you called "debt collectors" for help you really meant "credit card counseling services" or "debt settlement providers" or "bankruptcy lawyers." A collection agent has one job — collect the most money it can from debtors . Debt collectors will not help you negotiate settlements on your credit card debt.

      I have two recommendations:
      1. Use the Bills.com Debt Coach access am interactive tool that will help you find the debt resolution strategy that fits your needs.
      2. Read the Bills.com series What are my debt resolution options? to get an understanding of the pluses and minuses of each option.

      The Bills.com Debt Coach is a new feature, and I welcome your feedback if it helped you.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2011
    sandi
    i have been getting collection letter from citi bank and now they told me they are forwarding it to lawyer in texas can they garnish my bank acct and if i close my acct and just have my check be depoist into my husband can they garnish his checking acct,
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Bill
      Yes, under two circumstances.
      1. The account in question is a joint account. A joint account is fair game for an account garnishment (usually known as an account levy).
      2. The plaintiff (the judgment-creditor) has evidence you are using your spouse's account to avoid a levy, and asks the Texas judge to levy your spouse's account. This is unlikely, but you should avoid explaining to the judgment-creditor exactly where your wages are deposited. However, any statements you make under oath must be accurate.

      Consult with a Texas lawyer who has experience in consumer law to learn more about your rights and liabilities in a collections situation.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2011
    Carlos
    I have a credit card that was issued and charged-off Texas in 2007 from Bank of America and I am currently opening a checking and savings account with the same company. My question is.. Can the Bank, collection agency, or attorney representing the debt collector handling my account seize my funds placed in these account or any other accounts and also if a judgment of any kind is to be made on my outstanding balance will I be notified prior to it or can it be done with out giving me any notice. Thanks, Carlos
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Bill
      Review the contract for the checking account. It almost certainly contains a section called "right of offset" that spells out Bank of America's right to extract funds from your account for an old past-due account.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Carlos
      I contacted BOA and they said their Right of offset does not pertain to account that have been charged off and sold to debt collectors.. I contacted the debt collector and was advised the account is being sold to another company and is in transition at the time.So i guess my next question is.. If the company was to request a judgment or lean on my account will i be notified prior to it happening or will i wake up one morning and say wow its all gone??? Thanks Carlos
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Bill
      Let us assume for a moment that Bank of America told you the truth and sold all rights to your collection account to a third party, and never buys the rights to your old account from a third party. In that event, the collection agent will need to sue you, win, and get a judgment to earn the right to levy your bank account.

      Now let us assume for a moment that the person you spoke to was mistaken, and that Bank of America assigned the right to collect the account to a third party. Bank of America may have the right to withdraw the assignment and exercise a right of offset to empty your bank account without notice. Or, let us assume that Bank of America changes its policy in two years (or whenever) and buys all of its old collection accounts from collection agents, and exercises a right of offset. You are depending on Bank of America's gratuitous promise to not exercise its right of offset. My question is this: Why tempt fate? Are you getting such a great deal with Bank of America today that it is worth your while to worry every time you access your account that your money may be gone? Either settle the debt with the collection agent, or change banks.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Monica
      I'm having the same problem with an old Bank of America debt. Could I have the number you dialed to get to the correct Bank of America department? Thank you.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2011
    Josh
    My wife won a judgment against 7 individuals under the DTPA here in TX. The judgment including interest and attorney fees is now upwards of $1 million dollars. We tried a writ of execution on one of there businesses that they own and work at which netted nothing because everything in the business was "attached" to the building and considered the landlords property. Now we received a letter from the defendants attorney stating what we did was illegal, and also that the constable's office was committing an illegal act by serving the writ. Our next step was to file a writ against their homes for personal property and/or auto's and another writ against their bank accounts. (We only know of 1 bank account at this time). They threated to file a law suit against us if we don't stop attempting collections. Q. Is what we are doing thru the courts and the constable's office really illegal? Q. Are we legally allowed to file a writ against bank accounts? Q. How else can we collect? We don't want the entire amount. We only want the $200,000 of the base judgement and the $100,000 in attorney fees. Thanks for any help.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Bill
      Congratulations on your Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) victory. Hire a Texas lawyer who has experience in Texas remedies law to get precise answers to your question.

      In general, executing judgments properly is tricky and full of pitfalls for the unwary. It is very easy to make a mistake and scuttle a judgment by attempting collections improperly. A lawyer may cost you a few dollars, but will be worth his or her weight in gold if the collections efforts succeed. Even if they do not, it is money well spent so that you rest easy knowing you took all possible actions against the parties who harmed you.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2011
    Cecil
    My wife just got served with a civil lawsuit for unpaid credit card debt. It indicated she has 20 days to respond. I suspect there are many more unpaid debts outstanding which may result in further civil lawsuits. She is unemployed and has been for years. We have a joint checking account, but the only money ever deposited in it is from my military retirement. We have a joint savings account, but it consists of money from my saving endeavors, not hers. She has her own separate checking account and savings account, but I suspect there are virtually zero dollars in it. From reading of previous entries here, as there is no current interogatory asking for bank account information, to protect "my" assets, it is legal and may be prudent for me to redirect these funds into a separate account with only my name listed. We also own a home, which is in both our names, but the mortgage is in only my name. I suppose nothing can be done about that. Obviously, she (and me too probably) need to see an attorney, but does it appear that what I have said is true.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      I agree you and your spouse should either together or separately consult with a lawyer (or lawyers) to discuss your options. Complicating your issue is that Texas is a community property state, which may make insulating the community assets problematic. Ask your lawyer about the following:
      1. Will declaring any Texas property you own as a homestead help insulate the property from a judgment lien?
      2. If not, will your spouse signing a quitclaim deed to you insulate the property?
      3. How vulnerable are your separate assets to creditor actions? In other words, what twists are there in Texas community property law regarding separate property?
      4. Will your opening a separate account to receive your retirement benefits provide any insulation to levy?
      5. What are the account levy exemptions in Texas, and do they vary if the source of the funds was a federal pension?

      You are wise to consider your potential liabilities. I realize my answer is long on questions and short on answers, but I want you to consult with a Texas lawyer, which I am not, and get precise legal advice tailored to your situation.

      1 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bj
      My better half has a judgment against her from her ex for attorney's fees. Is it okay to pay back a minimal amount over a long period of time and not get sued in the process? This guy sues her all the time because he is a sociopath and narcissist. The court never gave a time line to pay it back and he is having collection agencies calling her.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      It is possible, perhaps, to negotaite a long term payment plan, depending on whether both parties agree.

      Does your better half earn income? If so, a judgment creditor could garnish her wages. You should not keep money in a joint account with your spouse, as your funds could get pinched, if a bank levy hits her.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      bj
      So, even if she starts paying back a minimal amount every month, she could still have a lien put on her, even if she is paying in good faith?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      If there is a judgment against her, a lien can be filed, even if she is making payments on the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2011
    Deb
    There's one town in Texas that prosecutes hot checks cases for payday loan companies. I have recieved threats from this particular loan co. and they made good on it. I received 2 warrants for the post dated checks and have had to hire an attorney for this injustice for I would have went to jail. I now have a court case coming up. I paid on these loans for app 18 months, but got became financially distressed. I thought they could not do this. yea, right.
    1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2010
    Jason
    My wife was served papers from someone on credit card that was not paid. It states on the papers that this is a citation of the court and it is asking her to respond bt filling out a request for admissions form. What should we do?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2010
      Bill
      I suggest that you fill out and return the form, unless you feel that the debt is not your wife's responsibility. How a judgment creditor can go about collecting on the debt depends on the state you reside in. For instance, a credit card company, even if it has a judgment against you, cannot garnish your wages in the state of Texas, but could get an order to levy your bank account. Speak with the court or with the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection office, so you determine whether the debt is legitimate and what the creditor can do to collect on the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    Katy
    I currently received a summons on an old credit card more than 4 years in Texas. I am currently receiving unemployment. Do I need to respond to the summons from the credit card attorney? It specifies that I need to contact them to either make payments or go to court. Also, the summons does not specify a court date?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      Is the document you received a summons to a Texas court or something that looks like a summons? If it is a summons from a Texas court, it is not a social invitation you can ignore. If it is something that only looks like a summons, you can ignore it or start negotiations with the law firm. Bring the document to a Texas attorney who can tell you if the document is a summons or an imitation.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2010
    Bill
    If the judgment-creditor is aware of this account, then the fact that you access its funds with an ATM/debit card is irrelevant under law for levy purposes. In other words, a reloadable ATM card is just as vulnerable to levy as a checking or savings account.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2010
    Tina
    I had a judgement against me for a credit card my exhusband I were not paying during the proceedings of our divorce. I am currently making payments to a law firm on this debt, but was informed by the law firm that they would levy any money I put into a bank account. Can the law firm levy a prepaid(reloadable)Visa card? And yes, this card requires a social security number.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2010
    Bill
    Yes, through a a process called judgment domestication. Consult with a Texas attorney to learn the details in your state.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    Robert
    Can a civil judgment in New Mexico be enforced in Texas and by what means?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    Bill
    Private student lenders are not shy about garnishing the wages of the employed, so if you stop making your student loan payments it would be reasonable to expect your student loan creditor to garnish your wages. The time to begin garnishment can be four months (more or less) to more than a year depending on the alacrity of the creditor and the court it files suit in. Sitting around and waiting is a bad idea for at least two big reasons: Fees and interest. Today, the creditor is under contract to limit the rate it can charge. If you default then you will pay hefty fees. Regarding your question about allowing some creditors to garnish your wages and not others, the answer is no. Consult with an attorney in your state to learn if a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will help moderate your student loan payments.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    Jeff
    I owe $175000 in Private Student Loan Debt. My payments are $1500 per month now and will increase in 9 months to almost $2000. I want to just walk away from these payments. Even if they garnished my wages it would only be $700 per month at 25% my monthly pay check. What will happen to me if I do stop paying these? What kind of timeline am I looking at? Can my wages be garnished in TX for private student loans?(I lived in FL at the time I took them out and moved to TX after graduating) Can I choose to pay specfic lenders and not others?
    3 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2010
    Bill
    There are too many unknowns in your question for me to make an observation on your situation. Did the utility provide any documentation to prove you are responsible for the $400 debt? How many debts did you have two years ago? Are you a TXU customer today? Where you five years ago? Keep in mind that a credit report is an imperfect snapshot of a person's credit history. It is not omniscient, nor is it a legal document that establishes the existence or non-existence of debt. Consult with an attorney in your state who will be able to review your TXU documents in person, and will be able to ask you follow-up questions.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2010
    Katt
    I just received a letter from TXU stating that they did a recent audit of their inactive accounts and somewhere it shows I owe them almost 400 for a bill 5 years ago. I bought a house and took care of everything on my credit report 2 years ago. What can I do about this? Any help would be appreciated, Thank you.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2010
    Bill
    1) The joint account is subject to the interrogatory -- your spouse must include it in the response. 2) Your spouse need not indicate whether it is a joint account because that is irrelevant -- as I mentioned, it must be included in the disclosure. 3) Under Texas law the judgment-creditor may seize the contents of your spouse's accounts. 4) There is nothing stopping you from changing your direct-deposit to an account that is in your name only because you were not ordered to do so by the Texas court, correct? 5) If your spouse is the judgment-debtor, and not you, you are free to do what you wish with your wages. 6) The judgment-debtor is subject to the laws of his or her state of residence. The state where the financial institution is located is irrelevant for the purposes of a levy.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2010
    Curtis
    My wife lost a judgment case and recently received a "Interrogatories in aid of Judgment" letter from the Plaintiff's law firm, which asks the following question: "Is there any checking/savings account or other account or fund of money in which you own an interest or have a right of withdrawal or deposit? For each account please state full name of each person owning an interest in the account or access to it; Account name and number; Name address of entity holding the fund; Present balance in the account." My wife and I have a joint checking account. I have direct payroll deposit to this account. My wife and I both make deposits and withdrawals to/from this account. Q: Under Texas Law is this account safe from being "frozen" or seized of funds by the Plaintiff? If it is safe, is she still required to include it on the response? If required, is there some indication other than "joint account" that she needs to make on the formal response back to the Plaintiff? If it is not safe, are they able to "freeze" or seize the funds without first going through the court and notifying us through service of process that this (or any) account is in danger of being "froze" or seized? What is to stop me from changing my direct deposit to another account that is only in my name? Are accounts that are only in my name safe from this judgment since I am not named in the judgment? If not, what if I was to open and start using a new account in another State where they at least some protection on accounts? Is it based on where you live or where the account exists?
    0 Votes