Got served a civil notice of impending lawsuit. My question is if a judgment is entered against me can they seize our joint checking account. My spouse is not part of the civil matter. Can the seize the account under TBE laws in pa if there is no judgement against the spouse.
Marital property is exempt from execution in Pennsylvania. If the judgment is only against you, and the account is registered as a 'marital' account, the bank should not freeze or allow garnishment of the account. However, I have seen banks erroneously freeze marital accounts, and while still not releasing the money, have created inconvenience and costs to their customers. Also, even if it is designated as a 'marital' account, the creditor may place objections and request a hearing on the status of ownership. You should inquire with your bank. Also, I would NOT allow a judgment against you simply because your bank account may be a marital asset. A judgment automatically acts as a lien against any real property a debtor owns, even if it is marital property. Thus, you could not sell a marital property free and clear of any liens, even if the judgement is only against one spouse. Hope this helps.
Noah Paul Fardo, Esq.
Flaherty Fardo, LLC
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Class Action Attorney
Mr. Fardo's answer is correct. I write to add that you shouldn't be quick to jump to the conclusion that judgment will be entered against you. It is important that you answer the collection complaint and defend yourself; or you hire a lawyer to do so. Debt collectors tend to arrive in court unprepared to try a collection case against a live person and, under our civil justice system, the burden is on them to prove (among other things) that you owe the debt, the amount is correct, and they are they are entitled to collect it from you (i.e., the debt hasn't been sold to a debt buyer, assigned, securitized into a trust, etc). If the debt has been assigned to a debt buyer, for instance, the collector will have a very difficult time abiding by the rules of evidence, which require them to authenticate the documents they try to use against you. These rules endure that the debt buyer actually owns the debt, and that the consumer won't be sued again later on the same "zombie debt". There are several skilled consumer protection attorneys in PA who can help you. I recommend Amy Good-Ashman in Wyomissing.
The above is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Consumer Protection Attorney
The collector cannot go after any spousal property, period. Other joint accounts, whether they are with a brother, mother, friend, child, could be subject to execution if the creditor prevails. The important issue for you is to have a consumer attorney, whether its my firm or another, review the lawsuit for defects. Many collection cases are defective, that is, lacking in proper documentation. Any reputable consumer attorney will offer a free case review.