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Collection Under Texas Turnover Statute

When a creditor has a judgment against a debtor and wants to collect on that judgment, one of the tools that Texas law provides to aid the creditor is the Texas turnover statute, located in Chapter 31 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.  Under the provisions of Chapter 31, a judgment creditor is entitled to aid from a court to help the creditor reach the property of the debtor to pay the judgment.  Chapter 31 provides several options for the court to aid the judgment creditor in reaching such property, including issuing an injunction, ordering a debtor to turn over non-exempt property to a sheriff or constable for sale, and appointing a receiver over a debtor’s property.

Originally put into effect in 1985, over the last several years the Texas legislature has made some changes to Chapter 31 that make it easier for a judgment creditor to get the relief offered by Chapter 31.  One of these changes made it explicit that a creditor can seek Chapter 31 relief in JP courts.  Another change removed one of the requirements that a creditor had to meet before it was entitled to a receivership over the debtor’s property.  Before September 2017, in order for a creditor to get such a receiver appointed, the creditor was required to show that the debtor’s property could not “readily be attached or levied on by ordinary legal process.”  In practice, this usually required that a judgment creditor show that it had attempted collection through various other means – for example, via a writ of execution or garnishment – before it would be entitled to the appointment of a receiver.  However, effective as of September 1, 2017, the Texas legislature removed that requirement, making the collection remedy of receivership more accessible to judgment creditors.

As amended, the Texas turnover statute is now more accessible and provides judgment creditors a set of options to pursue collection of their judgments with help from courts.

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