Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Texas

If monetary judgement is ruled against you in civil court, do you have to pay immediately? or can you set up a payment plan with the winning party? Can they come after your personal checking in addition to business checking, even if the business was the defendant (sole proprietor)


Asked on 1/17/11, 3:35 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Mark Dunn Mark D. Dunn

You don't have to pay a civil judgment. A civil judgment is basically a "hunting license" - it gives the judgment creditor the right to try to collect the judgment.

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 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 if 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.

My advice is: Don't worry about the judgment. Change banks about once per year, and don't let any money accumulate in any one account.

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Answered on 1/23/11, 12:59 pm


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