My wife has a student loan from before we were married. Can they garnish my wages or our joint bank account.

Asked over 2 years ago - Chicago, IL

We live in illinois.
We offered a small monthly payment (what we can afford) and they refused it and threatened court. What are we looking at? Can they garnish my wages. Will it help if I take her name off of our joint account? She is a stay at home mom and no funds are ever added to the account from her.
Also does it matter if we file taxes jointly or seperately?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Judy A. Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Your wife's wages can be garnished but not yours. Your joint account can also be garnished but if you have an account solely in your name it cannot. If you are concerned about this, then do not put a lot of money into a joint account. Pay bills from an account held only in your name. Nothing can be garnished unless and until there is a judgment against your wife. If your wife is sued, do not ignore the summons. She should go to court and try to enter into an installment order. An installment order would prevent garnishment, provided the terms of the order are complied with.

  2. Marc Gregory Wagman

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You are not liable on the student loan and therefore your wages cannot be garnished. Your wife if she had a judgment entered against her and if she was working could be garnished. In addition a joint bank account could be frozen and money levied by the creditor. If you file taxes together and the loan is in significant default such that the government takes it over then yes they can take your tax refund to apply it to the student loan that was defaulted. I would recommend you keep your finances separate as well and file taxes separately. If possible she needs to work out a payment arrangement with the student loan lender that is viable and affordable.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The... more

Related Topics


There are different types of debt, but all involve one person (the debtor) owing money to another (the creditor). Terms of repayment are governed by a contract.

Wage garnishment

Wage garnishment is the process whereby your employer sends part of your paycheck directly to your creditor in order to pay off your debt.

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