acer7 asked in Business & FinanceCredit · 1 decade ago

Can they garnish his wages?

I owe about 2000 and i didn't pay it so it got sold off to a firm. now the firm is calling me to tell me that they are going to sue and if i don't pay they will garnish my wages. since i don't work, then it will be my husbands. We earn about 1200 a month and are a family of 3. I have a 6 month old baby. We pay 931 in rent and 260 in car payment. as you can see we have more bills then what comes in. my husband works on commission so the economy hit him hard that is why i couldn't pay them to begin with. Can they still garnish his wages? What can i do? No money. Please Help!! (I live in California)

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best answer

    The previous answers are incorrect. Unless your husband was a co-signer or joint applicant on this account, then they can NOT garnish his wages for this.

    What they can do is go after any bank accounts that you have, and then you would have the added trouble of having to prove that the money in there was his and so forth.

    Best thing you can do is have him open his own banking accounts WITHOUT your name associated to them at all, and close out any accounts with your name on them.

    Edit: It appears Celeste caught me sleeping at the wheel, but I'm still going to stand by my original post.

    The link she posted has the actual law, which says "An earnings withholding order may not be issued against the earnings of the spouse of the judgment debtor except by court order upon noticed motion."

    Unfortunately, it does not give any criteria for whether or not this order would be accepted, but we do know that for it to happen, they would have to file this motion during or after the lawsuit at which point you and your husband could argue against it, claiming it would put undue hardship on your family as he is the only one earning wages in the family. Seeing as how you have 3 children and limited income, I don't imagine the judges would allow them to garnish your husband's wages. Also, if this debt was acquired prior to marriage then that is also a viable defense.

    Also, I failed to remember that California is a community property state, but the link below explains how that should not be relevant to debt, and the law I quoted above is almost certainly related to community property.

    I'd like to see some caselaw where they allowed garnishment of the debtor's spouse and the circumstances involved.

    Also, have you checked to see if this debt is past the statute of limitations? If so, you no longer have a legal obligation to repay this debt.

  • 4 years ago

    Ok the main thing is how long it was. If it was recent then a lawsuit could be filed quickly, then once that win that suit they get a judgment. After that then they garnish wages. It is a very complicated process. They will have to invest lots of time and money to even see if it is worth suing you. Lets say you have a job making 50k, house with equity, if you don't have other debts, other assets. Then they will be more likely to file a suit. Now lets say you make 30k, rent, pay child support, have debt up to your chin they will not waste there time. The reason why is they will have to pay a lawyer out of there own pocket 1-2k extra and if you go bankrupt they just lost that money. IF they win and you have assets etc. they will add there attorneys fees. If you have 2k settle on that and be done with it, even threaten bankruptcy. good luck.

  • 1 decade ago

    Actually, they can go after your husband's income.

    California law allows creditors to garnish spouse's wages even if they are not the defendant in the case.

    The state allows for up to 25% of your net income to be garnished.

    The best thing to do is contact the agency and tell them your situation and come to some agreement before this goes any further.

    Maybe you should check into receiving some state assistance until you can get back on your feet.

  • Meghan
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It all depends on the debt. They probably can't garnish HIS wages, but the court can issue a judgment against you. With a judgment, they can hire the police to take certain property of your to satisfy the judgment. Some states will also allow them to garnish money out of your joint bank account.

    But it all depends on what incurred the debt. Frankly, you need to increase your household income. Either he needs to find a higher paying job, or you need to be working as well. But also cut superfluous expenses. Internet and cell phone are not necessary, despite what you may think. You may want to consider financial counseling. Get a cheaper car and cheaper apartment.

    But keep in mind this is probably just a scare tactic that the firm is using to try to get you to pay.

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  • Flyby
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    If they get a judgment then they can garnishee his wages. Your husband may need to get another job or something part time to supplement your income until things improve. With a baby at home it might be difficult for you to work. If there are relatives nearby perhaps they could babysit while you worked to help out until things get better. You might want to get in touch with Credit Counseling Service. They have offices in most cities across the country. They might offer some advice and perhaps help work something out with your creditor. Most people are having difficulties. It is in the best interest of everyone for creditors to work with debtors to repay their debt. You have a legal right to prevent them from calling you. Get their address and mail them a certified letter return receipt requested. Tell them to not call you and to only contact you in writing per Federal Fair Credit Laws. You may be able to google and find the exact wording of the law. If the contact you after receiving the letter you can file a lawsuit against them in Federal Court and likely get money from them.

  • the d
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Holy cow,

    how do you eat,

    consider bankruptcy.

    even if your rent was only 300 how could you get by???

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