No contractor wants to have to take legal action to get paid what they are owed. However, getting a construction attorney or other legal entities involved is unavoidable in many instances. This is why it is best to be prepared and fully understand what steps you need to take to collect a judgment on any project. Your key to making that happen in Texas are writs of garnishment and writs of execution.
What’s the Deal with Writs of Garnishment and Writs of Execution?
In Texas, there are two effective ways to collect a judgment. They are writs of garnishment and writs of execution. A writ of garnishment is a way to collect funds from a bank or other financial institution. A writ of execution is a way to sell property to satisfy your judgment. Texas has fewer collection options compared to other states: You can’t garnish wages (except for child support) or sell someone’s homestead. The writs are your best shot at collecting a judgment.
Get Informed on Writs of Garnishment
A writ of garnishment is the most effective kind of writ you have access to. It is a way to collect funds from accounts owed by the judgment debtor. You don’t need to know account numbers, just the bank where the debtor has funds. Once you know the bank, you file an application for a writ of garnishment requesting the Court to issue a writ of garnishment for any funds owned by the debtor in possession of the bank. The application for a writ of garnishment is filed against the bank. Once the writ of garnishment is issued, it must be served to the bank by a constable.
Only a constable or sheriff can serve a writ of garnishment. Once the bank is served, any accounts owned by the debtor are immediately frozen, and the bank or their attorney will contact you to let you know if there is money in any account. After the writ of garnishment is served on the bank, you must send a copy of the writ of garnishment to the debtor via certified mail. If there are funds, the Court will issue a judgment ordering the bank to pay the funds to you. Collecting cash is the easiest way to collect any judgment. If you don’t know where the debtor banks, your next option is to sell property the debtor owns to satisfy the debt through a writ of execution.
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Some Writ of Execution Education
The debtor’s property is sold with a writ of execution. Though it is significantly less effective, a writ of execution is easier to get than a writ of garnishment. All you must do is request a writ of execution from the clerk of the Court where the judgment was issued. Once properly requested, the clerk will mail you the writ of execution. Once you receive the writ, you need to take it to the constable or sheriff in the county where the debtor owns the property.
The constable or sheriff will make a demand for payment. If the debtor fails to make payment, the sheriff or constable will levy (put a hold on) the debtor’s property to be sold at auction to satisfy your judgment. If the debtor does not enter into a payment arrangement or pay the debt, the property will be sold at auction. For real property, the sale will be at the courthouse on the first Tuesday of the month.
Protect Your Business through Collections
This educational information is so valuable for construction business owners, as collections is an unfortunate constant in the industry. Protecting your business and ensuring your team is compensated for their work is essential for any construction company head. Now that you know more about writs of garnishment and writs of execution, understanding how to collect a judgment is another tool you can add to your belt to help you build a better business. If you need help collecting on a judgment, consider contacting a Texas construction lawyer to help you determine the right writ for your scenario and help get you on the path to collecting what you are owed.
Knowing how to protect yourself best is essential, especially when growing your business, and having a team to support you when you’re facing the potential of getting sued is a huge advantage. The Cromeens Law Firm team is here to help keep you out of the courtroom on the front end or help you win the fight inside of it. Contact us today and set yourself up for success with the support of a legal team.
This article is intended as a general educational overview of the subject matter and is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of recent jurisprudence, nor a substitute for legal advice for a specific legal matter. If you have a legal issue, please consult an attorney.