Can my wife’s wages be garnished by a judgement against me for a debt that is only mine?

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Can my wife’s wages be garnished by a judgement against me for a debt that is only mine?

I got sick 4 years ago and my health insurance company didn’t pay my bills like they were supposed to. Because of that I owe a lot of money and I have been sued several times. The last thing I received is a “notice of judgement or disposition” from small claims court where they ordered me to pay $35 a week. My wages, bank account or property might be attached if I don’t. My wife received one as well for the same debt but the debt is only mine (a medical clinic I had an MRI at). Can her wages or bank account be touched because of this?

Asked on January 12, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Connecticut

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In some states in this country, if the judgment arose from an obligation of one person in a marriage while he and she were married, one half of the marital assets can be levied upon by the judgment creditor (garnished) and all of the separate property of the judgment debtor can be levied upon (garnished).

In your situation, your wife's separate property (accounts solely in her name) should be exempt from a garnishment as to the judgment against you. However, joint accounts in your and her name would be subject to the garnishment that you are writing about and possibly up to one half of the amount depending upon the laws of your state or even the entire bank account. Possibly one half of the allowed amount of a wage garnishment could be placed upon your wife's paycheck as an asset of the marriage by the judgment creditor regarding the judgment you owe.


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