Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Texas

I am a cosigner on a auto loan for my ex husband who is in and out of jail. He wrecked the motorcycle, spent the money and then got it stolen. Insurance wouldn't cover it again after he couldn't show proof of fixing after the wrecks. It went to collections with a law office. He hid the lawyers paperwork from me. When I found the paperwork I asked him to take care of it. He showed me papers that he had paid it; that was a lie. I found out about that from my neighbor. While he was in jail I was scared I was in trouble because I found out he didn't pay it. I agreed and he did as well to pay $75 a month on a settlement with the law firm. He got out of jail and agreed to pay when I talked to him. Now he is back in jail on a felony charge. I am so sick of all of this. I just want to know if I have any basis of anything. Or do I just have to pay it and get it over with. Never co-sign on anything with anyone.

Asked on 1/21/13, 4:19 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Mark Dunn Mark D. Dunn

"Went to collections with a law office." We need more details.

Was a lawsuit filed? Were you a defendant? Did you sign an agreed judgment? Did you go to court? Is there a judgment?

A Texas judgment based on an ordinary debt is very, very difficult to enforce. If you simply stopped making payments, it's likely that there wouldn't be any consequences.

Most people in Texas are "judgment proof," which means that they don't have any non-exempt property (property that can legally be seized to satisfy a judgment). This means that you may be “served” with a post-judgment writ of execution, but the Sheriff will return it to court “nulla bona” (no good). In other words, he won’t seize any of your property because it’s all exempt.

The plaintiffs in judgment can garnish your bank account if they know where you bank and they believe that you have sufficient funds on deposit. The filing fee for a garnishment is around $300.00; they don't want to hit your bank with a garnishment if you have only $55 in the bank.

They will spend about $20 and record an abstract of judgment in the county where you live. This creates a lien on any non-exempt property you own (and you probably DON’T own any); it doesn’t affect your homestead.

99% of all Texans do NOT need to worry if they have a judgment against them. Bill collectors collect their money because of the debtor’s fear of the unknown; they “scare” the money out of you.

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Answered on 1/22/13, 7:01 am

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