How do I enforce a civil court judgement in one state if it was granted in another?

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How do I enforce a civil court judgement in one state if it was granted in another?

The debtor has moved and I do not have her current address. I have her SSN and she is employed by the US Postal Service. She is also planning a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which has not been filed yet. Can I get get her salary garnished before the bankruptcy? If not, do I have any recourse? Judgement btained in NY; she now lives in TX.

Asked on August 15, 2011 Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Filing a foreign judgement is allowed in Texas and here is how it is done:

"Texas has adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, which provides the procedure by which a foreign judgment is “domesticated” (made to be a Texas judgment), and therefore enforceable as any other Texas judgment.

If you have obtained a judgment against a defendant who resides or has property in Texas, you can file the final judgment in a Texas court of competent jurisdiction.  The judgment must be properly authenticated, and an affidavit of the defendant’s last known address must be filed along with the judgment.  The filing of the judgment operates to simultaneously domesticate the judgment and create a final and enforceable judgment."

But here is what you need to worry about:

"If the judgment debtor is an individual, it is important to investigate whether there are non-exempt assets in Texas that could satisfy part or all of the judgment.  The Texas Constitution and certain statutes create significant protections for an individual’s exempt personal property and homestead real property."

Now, you have the added issue of the bankruptcy.  Chapter 13 is a reorganization of debt and not a Chapter 7 which eliminates the debt.  I would really seek help from an attorney who can look at the entire picture here - documents and all - and get a sense of the best way to proceed.  Good luck.

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