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Judgments and Enforcement:
A judgment entered in a court of the State of Texas is generally enforceable for a period of ten (10) years. If a writ of execution is not issued within 10 years after its rendition, the judgment is dormant and execution may not be issued on the judgment unless it is revived. (Civ. P. & Rem. C. 34.001.) A dormant judgment may be revived by scire facias or by an action of debt brought not later than the second anniversary of the date that the judgment becomes dormant. (Civ. P. & Rem. C. 31.006.)
A judgment may become a lien on the real property of a judgment debtor located in the county in which an abstract of judgment is recorded and indexed. (Prop. C. 52.001.) A judgment lien continues for 10 years following the date of recording and indexing the abstract; however, if the judgment becomes dormant during that period, the lien ceases to exist. (Prop. C. 52.006.)
A judgment creditor generally may request the issuance of a writ of execution thirty (30) days after the entry of a final judgment. (Texas R.C.P. Rule 627.) All of the property of a judgment debtor, not exempt by law, may be subject to levy and sale to satisfy the judgment. The levying officer is required to call upon the judgment debtor first to designate such property as may be levied upon. If the judgment debtor is absent or if no property is designated, the levying officer generally may execute upon any property of the judgment debtor which is subject to execution. (Texas R.C.P. Rule 637.) Personal wages of a judgment debtor generally is not subject to garnishment; however, any unpaid commissions for personal services, not to exceed 25 percent of the aggregate limitations prescribed by Subsection (a) of Section 42.001 of the Property Code, may be garnished to satisfy a judgment.
Confession of judgment is permitted in the State of Texas. Under Rule 314 of the Texas Rule of Civil Procedure, any person against whom a cause of action exist may, without process, appear in person or by attorney, and confess judgment in open Court. The person must file a petition, under oath, stating the justness of the debt or cause of action by the person in whose favor the judgment is confessed. If the judgment is confessed by an attorney, a power of attorney must be filed with the court and the contents thereof must be recited in the judgment. A judgment by confession generally operates as a release of all errors in the record thereof, and may be impeached for fraud or other equitable cause.
The State of Texas generally adopts the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. (Civ. P. & Rem. C. 35.001, et seq.) Any judgment, decree or order of a court of the United States or of any other court is entitled to full faith and credit in the State of Texas (Civ. P. & Rem. C. 35.001.)
A judgment creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment may file with the appropriate court, an authenticated copy of the foreign judgment and an affidavit showing the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and the judgment creditor. Upon the filing of the foreign judgment and affidavit, the clerk of the court and the creditor are required to mail a written notice of the filing of the foreign judgment to the judgment debtor at the address given. The notice must include the name and post office address of the judgment creditor and, if the judgment creditor has an attorney in this state, the attorney's name and address. Lack of mailing notice of filing by the clerk does not affect the enforcement proceedings if proof of mailing by the judgment creditor has been filed. (Civ. P. & Rem. C. 35.004, 35.005.)
A judgment so filed has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying as a judgment of a court in the State of Texas and may be enforced or satisfied in like manner. (Civ. P. & Rem. C. 35.003(c).)
Legal rate: 6% per annum on the principal amount beginning on the 30th day after the date on which the amount is due. (Art. 5069-1C.002.)
6% per annum on the principal amount beginning on the 30th day after the date on which the amount is due. (Art. 5069-1C.002.)
Written Contract rate: In the absence of other law, the maximum rate of interest under any contract is 10% per annum. (Art. 5069-1C.001; Fin. C. 302.001.)
Judgment rate: If the interest is provided under a contract which is the subject matter of the legal action, the judgment interest rate is the rate specified in the contract or 18% per annum, whichever is less. (Fin. C. 304.002.) If no interest rate is specified, the rate is determined by the consumer credit commissioner based on the auction rate quoted on a discount basis for 52-week treasury bills issued by the United States government as most recently published by the Federal Reserve Board before the date of the computation, on the 15th day of each month to be applied to the succeeding calendar month; however, such rate shall be not less than 10% or more than 20%. (Fin. C. 304.003.)
In general, a debtor may claim exemption of his homestead and certain personal property from attachment and execution of a judgment.
A debtor's homestead and one or more lots used for a place of burial of the dead are exempt from seizure for the claims of creditors. (Prop. C. 41.001.) If used for the purposes of an urban home or as a place to exercise a calling or business in the same urban area, the homestead of a family or a single, adult person, not otherwise entitled to a homestead, consists of not more than one acre of land which may be in one or more lots, together with any improvements thereon. (Prop. C. 41.002(a).) If used for the purposes of a rural home, the homestead consists of:
(1) for a family, not more than 200 acres, which may be in one or more parcels, with the improvements thereon; or
(2) for a single, adult person, not otherwise entitled to a homestead, not more than 100 acres, which may be in one or more parcels, with the improvements thereon. (Prop. C. 41.002(b).)
Personal property of a debtor which may be exempt from garnishment, attachment, execution or other seizure may include property having an aggregate fair market value of not more than $60,000, exclusive of liens, security interests, or other encumbrances if it is provided for a family, or an aggregate fair market value of not more than $30,000, exclusive of liens, security interests, or other encumbrances if it is owned by a single adult. (Prop. C. 42.001(a).) These property may include home furnishings, including family heirlooms; provisions for consumption; farming or ranching vehicles and implements; tools, equipment, books, and apparatus, including boats and motor vehicles used in a trade or profession; wearing apparel; jewelry not to exceed 25 percent of the aggregate limitations prescribed by Section 42.001(a); two firearms; athletic and sporting equipment, including bicycles; a two-wheeled, three-wheeled, or four-wheeled motor vehicle for each member of a family or single adult who holds a driver's license or who does not hold a driver's license but who relies on another person to operate the vehicle for the benefit of the nonlicensed person; certain animals and forage on hand for their consumption; household pets; and the present value of any life insurance policy to the extent that a member of the family of the insured or a dependent of a single insured adult claiming the exemption is a beneficiary of the policy. (Prop. C. 42.002.)
Other personal property, which may be exempt from seizure, may include current wages for personal services, professionally prescribed health aids of a debtor or a dependent, alimony, support, or separate maintenance received or to be received by the debtor or for the support of his dependent, qualified retirement plan, annuity or account. (Prop. C. 42.0021.)
Statutes of Limitation:
Civil actions generally can be commenced only within certain time limitations. The time generally runs from the date a cause of action accrues or from the date injury or damages are discovered or should have been discovered.
When a cause of action accrues is a critical issue and may be different on a case by case basis. A creditor should always consult actual legal counsel to determine its right to action under the applicable statutes. Some of the time limitations relevant to credit and collection matters are as follows:
Action for Debt 4 years Civ. P. & Rem. C. 16.004(a)(3)
Stated or open account 4 year Civ. P. & Rem. C. 16.004(c)
Contract for sale 4 year Bus. & Comm. C. 2.725
Injury to personal property 2 years Civ. P. & Rem. C. 16.003.
Action for which there is no express limitations period. 4 years
Civ. P. & Rem. C. 16.051