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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    judgement against one spouse

    What is the name of your state? New York
    I have a judgement issued against me for a credit card balance. the bank account that we have is joint . my wifes name does not appear on the judgement. But our account has had a lien put on it. i have been unemployed for 13 months and the only money deposited to that account is my wifes payroll checks which are direct deposits. can a lien be put on this account.thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Q. can a lien be put on this account?

    A. Yes, the real question is whether it can be avoided once it is (in the legal sense - can it stick)?

    Nobody has jumped in yet. I don't know, because I don't know how your courts have ruled on such matters in the past. I do think it's likely that the creditor can reach the account, if you don't step forard to assert that all proceeds are your wife's. The bank won't do it and the levy authority won't do it for you. Keep the thread open and hope that someone with more direct knowledge of New York will jump in.

    You don't live in a community property state and "all property acquired during the course of marriage" is not automatically co-owned with your spouse. (I'm leaving out some "buts" and "except whens" that you may not have to worry about unless you're Donald Trump.) In non-community property states, your property is your own unless you "agree" to your spouse owning it jointly. In non-community property states, courts have *found* such an agreement when spouses co-mingle. So, to boil this down, when you put your separate property and your wife puts her separate property into a bank account that you call "joint", courts have found an agreement whereby you have made each other equal owners. For the purposes of the money in the bank account, that also means equal debtors.

    That's not helpful, when you expect a levy on joint funds. The creditor can impose a levy on any account with your name on it. You have to avoid that levy by showing that everything in the account is your wife's separate property and she's not a judgment debtor. On the facts of your post, that may not be easy.

    On the other hand, if you have been ill and your spouse has been providing the "necessities of life" - food, shelter, medical treatment etc. - you may have *exemptions*, even if the funds in the account are not completely protected. If the funds are seized, you want to assert that everything in the account is required to provide you with the "basic necessities".

    The best source to answer your question would be a N.Y. Family Law attorney, who could tell you if you could expect court rulings to go your way. I'm simply suggesting some issues to consider, if you don't get independent counsel.

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