Can a creditor place a garnishment on a joint bank account when the debt is only in one person’s name?

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Can a creditor place a garnishment on a joint bank account when the debt is only in one person’s name?

My wife’s car was repossed and the account was given to a collections lawyer. We worked out a payment plan with the lawyer but then got a couple of months behind. We stayed in contact with the lawyer. The lawyer has a judgement against my wife. and then placed a garnishment on our joint account for the full unpaid balance (over $9,000). Now we have no money, cannot pay rent or buy groceries for our family of four. We did not have $9,000 in the bank. Our account is frozen and our paychecks are sheduled to be deposited Friday and we will not have access to them.

Asked on March 15, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Mississippi

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A judgment creditor under all laws under the states in this country can garnish a joint account of a debtor as in your case. There is nothing improper as to what was done. Under the laws of many states in this country, the marital assets of a husband and wife are also fair game to be levied upon by a judgment creditor even if the judgment is against one of the spouses.

I suggest that you consult with an attorney who represents consumers in debt collection matters to assist you with possibly protecting your assets from further levy and possibly setting up a payment plan so you do not have to worry about future levies on your assets.


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