My husband is being sued by a credit card company. We are not able to pay the debt, as we don't have anything. The only asset we have is one car, which we own outright. The car is titled in both our names : "husband AND wife". The credit card is only in my husband's name, and they are only suing him; and this is a credit card he acquired before we were married. Can they have the sheriff come and take our car?
The car is probably worth about $18,000 Does that change things? it is titled with AND between our names.
Probably not. If you do not have other assets, then likely thevtwomof you together would have adequate exemptions under Florida law to protect the car, particularly if it is a modest one. You may also be protected by the assertion that the vehicle is owned as tenancy by the entirety, which helps protect certain assets owned by married couples from the creditors of only one spouse. There are some additional requirements for tenancy by the entirety. A bankruptcy lawyer should be able to confirm. Most offer a free consultation.
Without knowing the value of the vehicle it is difficult to determine. The answer is that they can attempt to take the vehicle, however you have an exemption of up to $5,000.00 through the vehicle exemption and the $4,000.00 personal property exemption. So if the vehicle is worth less than $5,000.00 you should be safe. That does not then stop them from going after other property you own or bank accounts. Bank accounts are usually the first thing they go after.
I would still advise to contact an attorney who can assist with the credit card case. However, if you really have "nothing" and you have other outstanding debts you might want to contemplate bankruptcy as well.
Information on Avvo should not be construed as legal advice. The response above is only for informational purposes and should not be construed as creating an attorney/client relationship. If you would like assistance with your particular case or information regarding options in handling your situation, please contact a consumer law attorney, or contact me at email@example.com or visit us at www.maderpacker.com
Just to add to what the other attorneys have stated, if you can establish that this car is held in tenancy by the entirety, creditors normally cannot attach such property as it cannot be divided. But don't just give in on the credit card case. At a minimum, if you are eligible, you should contact Legal Aid to see if they can represent you in that matter. There are also many attorneys who provide free consultations on consumer cases such as this one.