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Can my spouse's wages be garnished for my student loan debt?

Largo, FL |

I want to get married (FL), but I have a lot of student loan debt and have recently been laid off of work. If my student loans go into default, can/will her wages or tax refunds be garnished? Should we have separate bank accounts?

Attorney Answers 3


Unless your spouse signed a guaranty on the loan(s), her wages are safe from garnishment.

If you had wages and taxes withheld, she can file married with an "injured spouse" designation so that you both are paying at the lower tax rate as married instead of the higher tax rate of married filing seperately. She would then get her refund.

Separate bank accounts? Good idea. Even though you would be able to demonstrate that her funds went into the account, that takes time and in the meanwhile you and she would not have access to the funds. Checks would bounce, auto withdrawals rejected, etc.. Better to have separate accounts so the family cash flow is not impacted.

And, what I am about to say is intended to reassure you, not scare you: in the event of a divorce, it does not matter in whose name an asset or bank account is titled, it is still considered to be a marital asset subject to equal or close to equal distribution.

I hope you found this response to be of assistance. This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. While Avvo is a wonderful resource, nothing can be a substitute for an in-depth consultation with an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the law is to be applied. This response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.

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The answer above is very good. I just wanted to point out that if you get married and get a judgment against you, if you are head of household, you would be exempt from garnishment in FL. However, your best bet would be to get an attorney and settle the dispute BEFORE a judgment.

This is not intended to create an attorney client relationship and is for educational purposes only. You should always contact an attorney and go over the issue at length with all the details.

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Your spouse is not responsible for your debts.

The questions and answers posted on AVVO are for general information and should not be treated as legal advice or establishing an attorney-client relationship.

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