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How to Do a Judgment Debtor Exam in Texas

"How do I conduct a judgment debtor exam in Texas?"

As a lot more judgment creditors decide to utilize the Internet to find out the most effective means to collect their judgments, I get this specific question a great deal. Before I am able to answer the question I want to make sure we are actually on the "same page" with our definitions. So, permit me to explain the words.

The Judgment Debtor Exam Defined

A lot of states enable judgment creditors to use a collection device called the "judgment debtor exam." Typically, this is a strategy that allows a successful plaintiff to ask a losing debtor questions which will help him collect a judgment.

The entire question and answer procedure commonly happens under the court's direction (i.e., in the court room) with the defendant being put under oath. The judgment creditor, or the creditor's attorney, asks the defendant questions relating to his finances and investments, including bank accounts, account numbers, the amount of money in his wallet and more. Unquestionably, the judgment debtor exam is an excellent technique to motivate defendants to arrive at some type of repayment plan with the winning party.

The Judgment Debtor Exam in Texas

So, how exactly does a winning plaintiff conduct a judgment debtor exam in Texas? Well, it is done very differently than it is in almost all other states.

To start with, in Texas we do not really have any such proceeding. We do have a procedure that permits judgment creditors to ask questions of the defendant under oath. Our technique, however, is not done in a formal hearing in the presence of a judge. The course of action we have in Texas involves what we refer to as "Written Interrogatories in Aid of Judgment" as well as a "Notice of Deposition with Subpoena Duces Tecum."

The objective of our process in Texas, however, is to make enforcement of a judgment easier. Our procedure simply permits everything to be performed outside the presence of a judge ... initially, at least.

Written Interrogatories in Aid of Judgment

Written Interrogatories are basically a set of written questions that the winning plaintiff creates and forwards to the defendant. The goal is to accumulate as much information and facts as feasible about the debtor's assets and financial circumstances. The judgment creditor can ask pretty much anything regarding the debtor's financial state of affairs, including things like bank accounts, account numbers, real estate property holdings, stocks, bonds, inheritances expected, stamp, coin and art collections, car or trucks, motorboats, motorbikes in addition to other vehicles. The door is practically wide open at this point in the Texas judgment collecting process. Practically any type of question that could possibly result in the discovery of non-exempt resources may be asked.

The defendant has to provide responses to the written interrogatories in writing, under oath, within 30 days of the receipt of the interrogatories. Failure to reply in a timely way or failure to respond completely can put him in a position to be ordered by the court to respond. On going failure to answer may ultimately lead to the defendant being incarcerated for contempt of court.

Notice of Deposition with Subpoena Duces Tecum

The Notice of Deposition with Subpoena Duces Tecum is simply a notice to the defendant that his presence is called for at a formal deposition. A deposition is a proceeding performed outside of court but is documented by a court reporter with the judgment debtor being put under oath. At a post-judgment deposition, the plaintiff or his legal representative has the chance to ask the debtor about finances, including bank accounts, account numbers, and other non-exempt property holdings that can be applied to pay the judgment.

The subpoena duces tecum portion of the Notice of Deposition is just a subpoena for the debtor's financial papers. The defendant can be required, by the subpoena, to produce banking account details, IRS tax statements, along with documents relating to the financial situation of the defendant.

Much like the Written Interrogatories, the Notice of Deposition is a collection technique that may be enforced with a court order and ultimately, if the refusal to attend continues, contempt of court.


Even though Texas does not technically use a court proceeding referred to as a judgment debtor exam, we do provide 2 discovery mechanisms which achieve the very same final result. Working with the Written Interrogatories in Aid of Judgment alongside a Notice of Deposition with Subpoena Duces Tecum, a zealous plaintiff may accomplish the identical result as collectors in states having a judgment debtor's exam ... he'll get his judgment paid.

About Author Harvey L. Cox :

Harvey L. Cox founded the Texas Judgment Collection Center at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> as a resource to help Texas judgment creditors collect their money judgments. He is also the author of "How to Collect Your Own Judgment in Texas."

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Article Added on Wednesday, May 8, 2013
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