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Can Creditors Seize or Garnish My Spouse’s Income?

by Mr Credit Card

Can credit card companies garnish or seize my wife’s income or accounts if she is not listed on the accounts. Also, if I file bankruptcy, does that affect her credit or have any adverse effect for her.
Mr. Bill Abramovic

ANSWER:

Bill,

These are two separate but similar questions, so I’ll answer the first one, first. No, companies or creditors cannot seize your wife’s income or bank accounts or any other property that belongs solely and is only in her name to cover your debt. If the bank accounts are held jointly, than a creditor may be able to take you to court and obtain a judgment. Alternatively, if the debt is in both names, then it doesn’t matter whose name is on the bank account and it is possible for her wages to be garnished. There are certain funds that are exempt and cannot be garnished or seized (Social Security benefits, for example) so keep that in mind as well. Otherwise it’s best to keep separate bank accounts if garnishment or seizure is possible.

The second part of your question is whether you can file bankruptcy without affecting your wife’s credit. Yes, you can. You can file an individual bankruptcy and your wife’s assets and property will be not be affected, nor will it affect her credit. If, however, you have any accounts that are jointly held and you include them in your bankruptcy, your wife will still be responsible for the debt. Another issue that may arise is if you and your wife want to obtain credit together in the future, the fact that you have a bankruptcy on your report could have a negative impact on any endeavor to purchase a home or vehicle later on. Bankruptcies where only one party files usually work out best if there are absolutely no accounts or property held together as the court and even creditors, may be able to seize anything of value that you own jointly.

Hope this helps!

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