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Wage garnishment from another state, but I am in Texas?


redneck chic
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I am going to try very hard to make sense - first of all thank you so much for any advice you might have. My husband and I live in Texas, but had lived in Ohio for many years. In March of 2009 he was sued in Ohio for bad consumer debt (I had moved back to Texas at that point and we were seperated) by Asset Acceptance LLC. He was, shall we say, having a bad run at that time and ignored the court summons - I know, I know - nothing more stupid than that, but it wasn't like him and it can't be helped now. By the time court costs and all the fees were put on, he is in trouble for just over $30,000.

 

So a couple years later he moved to Texas to join our children and I. We have steadily been getting rid of all of our medical debt and have not created any debt in the last 4 years - not so much as a stick of gum. Recently we received a notice from the court in Ohio that there is a wage garnishment now. As the letter had been returned to sender and resent with a Texas address, by the time I got it the period for appealing to the court for why this should not be done was past. I took the letter and papers to the local "general practicioner" type attorney who told me that I could throw them away as there was no wage garnishments in Texas for consumer debt (he did encourage us to make some financial decisions soon that would erase this debt). Since this is not child support, taxes, or student loan it isn't a problem at this juncture. So, I didn't worry about it, came home, and started talking to DH about the house we can't sell in Ohio and this ugly debt. Today I recieved notice from his employer that the garnishement was sent to them and they will begin to  garnish 25% of his paycheck starting tomorrow. I called the local HR office and was directed to the home office (located in Ohio). The woman in HR agreed to hold on to the garnishment check for a couple of days while I try to sort this out. So I called the local attorney again who pretty much told me "It is illegal. They can't do it. Call HR back and tell them to release the check." I called HR back and told her I talked to my attorney and he said it is illegal to garnish Texas wages for consumer debt. She is going to contact her legal department. Soooooo.... here I am, down 25% of our monthly salary with a kid going in for surgery in a few days. Obviously I need that money.

 

Can you please confirm for me that his company should not be taking out this money since we are in Texas? Also, is there some way that I can force this thing to get moved to Texas? I called the court in Ohio today to see if there is something that I can do, but the clerk at the court house said I would need to file a motion to dismiss and then appear in court in Ohio. I have a sick child that makes one of us leaving very hard and (obviously) a lack of money.

 

I am just so very very lost. Thank you so much for pointing me in the direction that I need to go.

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Foreign Judgment

Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act

 

A foreign judgment (defined as a judgment of any state or federal court) may be registered by filing an exemplified copy of the foreign judgment with the appropriate office of the Court and notifying the debtor of the filing.

Article IV, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, commonly referred to as the Full Faith and Credit Clause, states “full faith and credit ought to be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings, of every other state” In practice, this clause means, among other things, that all states must honor judgments issued by other states.

 

They might go after your bank accounts and wages.

"that all states must honor judgments issued by other states."

 

"he said it is illegal to garnish Texas wages for consumer debt"

It is for a Texas debt But the judgment is from Ohio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Asset can't do too much of anything until the judgment is domesticated in TX. If the employer has a nexus in OH (location), then that will not apply...

 

 

Once the judgment is domesticated, then you have all the protections of TX law at your disposal.

 

If they can't collect via wage garnishment, then they may try to levy a bank account. If that's not available to them, then they are SOL.

 

I'd see if they'd be open to negotiate - especially if TX doesn't allow garnishment. Offer 10 cents on the dollar - which is better than collecting nothing.

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Asset can't do too much of anything until the judgment is domesticated in TX. If the employer has a nexus in OH (location), then that will not apply...

 

 

Once the judgment is domesticated, then you have all the protections of TX law at your disposal.

 

If they can't collect via wage garnishment, then they may try to levy a bank account. If that's not available to them, then they are SOL.

 

I'd see if they'd be open to negotiate - especially if TX doesn't allow garnishment. Offer 10 cents on the dollar - which is better than collecting nothing.

 

 

So, since his employer (huge international company) has offices in Ohio, then Texas non-garnishment wages don't apply to this case? Am I understanding you correctly?

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So, since his employer (huge international company) has offices in Ohio, then Texas non-garnishment wages don't apply to this case? Am I understanding you correctly?

 

Your lawyer is right.  It matters not if the employer has offices in Ohio, that you were sued in Ohio and that is where the judgment is.  Your husband is a legal resident of Texas now and those laws apply to collecting on that judgment.  They have to domesticate the judgment in Texas to collect and at that point the laws of Texas regarding judgments prevail NOT where the employer has offices.  Texas law does not allow for wage garnishment for civil debt.  

 

This law firm or JDB is trying to pull a fast one and you need to talk to a consumer attorney about suing for FCDPA violations and under Texas state law which has very sharp teeth about violations of collection laws.  You could be collecting from them for this.

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Your lawyer is right.  It matters not if the employer has offices in Ohio, that you were sued in Ohio and that is where the judgment is.  Your husband is a legal resident of Texas now and those laws apply to collecting on that judgment.  They have to domesticate the judgment in Texas to collect and at that point the laws of Texas regarding judgments prevail NOT where the employer has offices.  Texas law does not allow for wage garnishment for civil debt.  

 

This law firm or JDB is trying to pull a fast one and you need to talk to a consumer attorney about suing for FCDPA violations and under Texas state law which has very sharp teeth about violations of collection laws.  You could be collecting from them for this.

OH that is great news! What kind of attorney do I need to be looking for specifically?  This has been a nightmare (and one that I thought we had handled a long time ago).

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  • 4 months later...

@RedNeckChic or anyone :-)  -  how long does one have to live in TX to be afforded residency and protection under TX laws?  Thanks!!! 

 

6 months for divorce proceedings but you have been there 4 years.  WAY long enough that Asset cannot garnish wages.  Make sure to get hubbies name off ANY bank accounts to that they cannot take those.

 

 

Foreign Judgment

Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act

 

A foreign judgment (defined as a judgment of any state or federal court) may be registered by filing an exemplified copy of the foreign judgment with the appropriate office of the Court and notifying the debtor of the filing.

Article IV, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, commonly referred to as the Full Faith and Credit Clause, states “full faith and credit ought to be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings, of every other state” In practice, this clause means, among other things, that all states must honor judgments issued by other states.

 

They might go after your bank accounts and wages.

"that all states must honor judgments issued by other states."

 

"he said it is illegal to garnish Texas wages for consumer debt"

It is for a Texas debt But the judgment is from Ohio.

 

The judgment can be from Pluto and it will NOT matter.  Under Texas law they cannot garnish a paycheck for a consumer debt.  PERIOD.  They are trying to pull a fast one by garnishing through the Ohio corporate office and skirt Texas law knowing Texas won't allow the wage garnishment.  For a consumer sued in another state that now resides in Texas they have to domesticate the judgment to continue collection actions and once domesticated ALL they can do is garnish bank accounts and place liens on property.  Foreign judgments are not exempt from the wage garnishment law.

 

I would sue them for the violation.  The problem HR is having is that lady is in OH where it is legal and is not familiar with Texas law.  I would be having the lawyer call her ASAP in the morning to release the money back to you this week.  

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Does anyone then know how to become a TX resident?  I looked it up but its not making sense...ie some of the requirements are phone / utility in your name or a rental agreement...but I don't have the credit for that and if I were to go to TX then I'd be living with others who already had those things established.  That's the cause of my confusion....thanks :)

 

@Clydesmom - You said that once they are a TX resident even if they domesticate the judgement all they can do is garnish bank accounts and place liens on property, then how does one cash a check?  How would one get paid?  Sorry I'm super new, green, ignorant and still scared LOL...

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Does anyone then know how to become a TX resident?  I looked it up but its not making sense...ie some of the requirements are phone / utility in your name or a rental agreement...but I don't have the credit for that and if I were to go to TX then I'd be living with others who already had those things established.  That's the cause of my confusion....thanks :-)

 

@Clydesmom - You said that once they are a TX resident even if they domesticate the judgement all they can do is garnish bank accounts and place liens on property, then how does one cash a check?  How would one get paid?  Sorry I'm super new, green, ignorant and still scared LOL...

 

The utility bills and/or rental agreement are PROOF of residency they do not establish it.  Moving to a state, taking up residence, accepting employment and getting paid, registering to vote, getting a driver's license in that state ALL establish residency.  If you were to move in with someone else they can type up a lease that states you reside at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Adamsville, TX for the purpose of showing where you live.  A cell phone bill qualifies as a phone bill.  Once you have the carrier mail one to your new address that establishes another way to show where you live.  Also, most pay stubs have the employee's address on it which is another way to prove your address as well.

 

A person does not have to have a bank account in their name to cash a check made out to them.  You do have to have one to write them,  legally.  If married, they simply have the spouse deposit it into their account and give them cash.  Or a significant other.  Another way is to take it to the bank the check is drawn on and cash it there.  There are also check cashing places that will do it for a fee.  Many grocery stores will cash them on pay day if you spend a certain amount in the store without a fee.

 

Paper pay checks can be issued.  Many employers offer debit cards they load wages onto.  In Texas it doesn't matter because they cannot garnish wages.  In states that do not prohibit garnishing wages you run the risk they simply take 25% of your paycheck.  In states that do not have to worry about them taking it before you ever get paid but you avoid having it go to the bank via direct deposit so they have no bank account to seize.  If you own a house or car that is paid for they can get a lien on it which would prevent selling the asset until you pay the lien.

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@Clydesmom - I appreciate your response but I still don't understand...I can get a "lease" without a problem, I would be just staying in a room.  So that would be off the grid...but I don't have a bank account, credit card, car, heck I don't even have a phone, pay stubs are also out of the question...So I'm at a total loss as to how else to verify residency.  Will a TX drivers license help establish residency?  I think I read that if you have a valid DL then you can simply swap out for a TX license.  I'm sure to do that all I would need would be an address for the new license.  

 

Thanks to everyone who has been chatting on this thread...I do appreciate EVERY comment, it's helping me to build a foundation...I am SUPER green but every post is one more tid bit of knowledge that I didn't have before.  

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  • 2 years later...
  • 3 months later...

What ended up happening with this case? I am a resident in Texas and going through the same thing with a creditor from Ohio. They are garnishing my wages.  I spoke to a lawyer here that stated that if they pay check is cut from Ohio then the garnishment can be Valid. Therefore the Texas laws do not protect me. Is this true? Could use all the help I could get. Thanks!

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44 minutes ago, sarank said:

I am a resident in Texas and going through the same thing with a creditor from Ohio. They are garnishing my wages.  I spoke to a lawyer here that stated that if they pay check is cut from Ohio then the garnishment can be Valid. Therefore the Texas laws do not protect me. Is this true?

It is true.  If your paycheck comes from an out of state payroll it can be garnished. 

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What I'm going to say must be taken in a general sense only, and not as a criticism.

 

I've found that some attorneys do not provide correct information on topics.  I cannot speak as to why,  but I do not think it's anything intentional.  For example, I brought my  sister to have a consult with an attorney regarding a consumer protection case.  Among the violations that I believed we had evidence for was a TCPA claim.  I was sitting in front of an attorney whose primary area of practice is consumer law, and who tells me that he routinely tries cases in the federal district courts over federal law violations such as FDCPA and FCRA.  But this attorney had no idea what TCPA was....and he said he had been practicing 10 years.  Now, before I continue, let me say that I am not attacking this man in any way.  It's just that we cannot automatically think that because an attorney told us something, that it is the gospel truth.  Attorneys lose arguments in courts every day, and sometimes, they lose those arguments because their contention is seen by the court as incorrect.  They make mistakes just as we all do.  So, as I was sitting with that attorney, who happened to be a very nice guy, came off very professionally, he was totally unaware of a federal law that's been around since 1991, and that has made some of the biggest news in recent years regarding consumer protection lawsuits.  Again, not criticizing, it is important to note that attorneys are people too.  I recommend researching all that you can and seeking advice from multiple sources when possible.  Incidentally, this same attorney advised me that regarding a debt collection lawsuit that was filed some years ago, we should file a motion for dismissal due to abandonment.  Let me clarify this point.  When I met with this lawyer, the time clock on this debt collection case was at 2 years and 11 months since the plaintiff originally filed the complaint.  He advised that we do nothing for the next month, then file MTD because it would have been 3 years at that time since the complaint was filed, and that the case would be dismissed automatically.  He was not correct.  A reading of the law in question says that the 3 year clock starts at the most recent activity of record, not from when the case was first filed.  If we had filed the MTD at that point, it would have been denied because the plaintiff had taken other actions after filing the complaint and a MTD for abandonment would have been untimely.

Again, this attorney was very nice and came off very professional.  He was willing to listen, and consider other ideas, not just his own.  My sister could not afford to retain him, otherwise she would have.  But the point is, attorneys have to know so much information that it is going to happen here and there that they get something wrong. 

 

IANAL.  However, I disagree with the contention that your wages cannot be garnished in TX like this.  There is case law to back me up.  I suggest researching "full faith and credit", there's a federal law that requires the states to give each other "full faith and credit" for judgments that are final in those other states.  TX courts seem to be of the position that, while they cannot order a garnishment of someone's wages, there is nothing preventing a court from outside of TX to do so.  As long as the TX court is not being asked to order a wage garnishment, then they are not permitted to stand in the way of the other state's actions, even if those actions are not supported by TX law.  While the bulk of the case law involves things like alimony, the case law is clear that even if TX state law prohibits garnishment in certain situations, that ONLY applies to what TX courts are allowed to order.  Nothing in those laws prohibits an outside state to enforce its own order, and due to "full faith and credit", TX courts have tried to  step in and block that, and have been overruled. 

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2784946668815803211&q=cannot+garnish+wages+consumer+debt&hl=en&as_sdt=4,44,367,368,369,370&as_ylo=2012

Here's a link to nolo.com, where wage garnishment in TX is discussed:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/texas-wage-garnishment-law.html

"

There are limits to how much money can be garnished from your paycheck. The idea is that you should have enough left to pay for living expenses.

Federal law places limits on wage garnishment amounts. However, as discussed, Texas prohibits wage garnishment entirely for most debts. But your wages can still be garnished to satisfy debts for child support, alimony, taxes, and student loans. Also, keep in mind that creditors may still be able to levy or seize your other assets, such as bank accounts, even if they can’t garnish your wages.

Further, if you work for an out-of-state company or receive your wages from a source outside of Texas, a creditor may be able to domesticate its judgment in that state and still garnish your wages."

 

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