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Can creditors take my money out of joint account by doing a levy on account?

Rahway, NJ |

my wife has a judgment against her. the creditors levied our joint account. the money is now frozen in the bank. I objected to the court providing proof that the frozen money belongs to me, not my wife and there is no judgment against me. The money came from my 401k which i cashed out. I have proof that I deposited that money into the levied account.
we have a hearing coming up. What are my chances of getting that money released? Am I liable for my wife's judgment? can they take my money for it? I didn't co-sign any loans with her

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Assuming that you can actually trace the funds from your 401K (separate property) to your joint account, there is a chance that the Court may deny the levy. The problem is that by placing the funds in your joint account, they may have legally changed their character (the funds) from separate property to community property. With your wife on the account, they are thus subject to levy. The burden of proof is now on you to demonstrate that the funds did not change their legal status / character at the time of being placed in the joint account. That is a high burden to overcome.

    Attorney is Licensed in Arizona, California, and Colorado only. The opinions and comments offered are in the nature of general business advice relating to generic questions that might be raised. The use of this site is not intended to form an attorney client relationship of any kind. The reader is advised that every situation is different and you should always consult in person with a licensed attorney for the particular jurisdiction in question when your legal rights may be effected.


  2. It also depends on how the account is titled. If it is "tenancy by the entireties" (a special joint tenancy reserved only for husband and wife), then a creditor of only one spouse should not be able to access the funds that belong to the married couple together. This doesn't mean that it can't happen, because banks make mistakes every day and release funds that should not be released to the wrong parties. I strongly suggest you retain a qualified attorney in your area to help you with this, especially if substantial funds are involved AND with the hearing coming soon. This is not the time to be "penny wise and pound foolish." Good luck!


  3. Check out the court decisions from the links below which address your situation. If you can prove the funds are yours, you should be ok.

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