Q Will Wage Garnishment Affect My Spouse?
In the event that either spouse's wages are garnished by a creditor, you need to figure out whether you and your spouse both created a legal agreement to pay back the debt.
Take credit cards as a common example. Most of the time, people select to make their spouse an authorized user of the account. This means the spouse has the privileges of using the credit but none of the responsibilities for paying it back or making credit decisions. This frees that spouse up from having their wages garnished for debt connected to that credit card.
However, if you signed up for a credit card or loan as a co-signer, co-borrower, or co-applicant, then the debt is legally yours, too. The creditor can garnish your wages, even if privately you and your spouse agreed that the loan was just one spouse's obligation.
In some states there is something called Community Law that could affect the outcome of a garnishment. Under community property laws, the husband and the wife equally own all income and property acquired in marriage. Unfortunately, that means they equally own the debts, too. So if a default happens, you could get your wages garnished even if your spouse is the one at fault.
The states that observe community property are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Kansas and Missouri don't currently have community property laws that could affect wage garnishment.
So, the short answer is that your spouse typically won’t be affected if your wages are garnished.
If you need to stop wage garnishment, bankruptcy can help. Castle Law Office has been handling bankruptcies for Kansas City clients from more than 14 years. If you need the fresh start bankruptcy can provide, call us today at 816-842-6200 to speak with an attorney. Or click here to email us and schedule your free consultation.