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

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2012

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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