What to do about the garnishment of a joint account?

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What to do about the garnishment of a joint account?

My husband lost a court case in his name only. Can the people garnish our bank account with both our names on it? How should the account be titled to avoid garnishment?

Asked on January 23, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The law varies state-to-state as to what creditors may do regarding the debt of only 1 spouse who has a joint bank accounts with the other spouse.  In many states, creditors are permitted to go after such an bank account to satisfy debt and may be entitled to have a garnishment placed against the entire amount.

However, in MO, there is a type of account ownership known as "tenant by the entirety".  In this type of account, the debt must be a debt in both names in order for a creditor to seek a garnishment against the joint account.


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