What happens to joint assets if one spouse has a judgment against them?

UPDATED: Sep 28, 2010

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What happens to joint assets if one spouse has a judgment against them?

My wife has a judgement on a credit card that she defaulted on. Can they force the sale of the time share in FL. At this time it is not paid for. The credit card was just for purchases, not medical bills and in her name only. Can they take money out of my checking account which is joint, or my 401K?? We have no savings, or other assets, my home is owned by me and does not have her name on the deed.

Asked on September 28, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You are not responsible for such a debt.  Accordingly her creditor can go after only her assets - including those that are solely and jointly in her name.  At this point, you need to open up a separate bank account.  Any assets solely in your name are protected.  As for the timeshare, if it is in both of your name's a creditor could attempt to put a lien on it.  Much depends if the creditor will take the steps necessary to attach out-of-state property.  If there isn't much equity in it or the debt isn't for much money, as a practical matter while they could attach the property they probably won't bother.  It's hard to say. But if they do, unless your timeshare is for some reason exempt under applicable law, a sale could be forced.

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