How does it work when there are multiple people legally responsible for the same debt?

UPDATED: Oct 16, 2012

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How does it work when there are multiple people legally responsible for the same debt?

Right now, I only have an address to serve 1 of them papers so I have filed a suit against her. If I get a judgement against her but I am never able to collect from her, can I then file another suit against another party to try to recover money from them? Do I have only 1 shot to collect the debt and if sue just her and she files bankruptcy then I am out of luck? Or can I see what happens with her and then file suit against another party later down the road if that becomes necessary?

Asked on October 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should file the suit against all of them at the same time to prevent your being barred by either the statute of limitations or by a legal term known as res judicatat (the issue has been litigated before).  If you do not know their present addresses then it may be a little bit more work for you but the law does allow service by other means such as publication.  You will just have to show them that you made an effort to locate their whereabouts (called a good faith affidavit).  The lease probably holds them all jointly and severally liable for the money which is good for you. WHen you get the judgements file them in the county clerk's office.  And judgements are good for many years and often renewable.  Good luck.

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