defendant has no income or assets to garnish, attorneys for debt collector want to subpoena spouse to determine if he has assets they can attach or garnish but he was not a party to the lawsuit or named on the judgment.
The creditor can investigate whether "fraudulent transfers" were made by debtor which could be avoided and garnished. This is unusual but not improper.
This is not to be considered legal advise and no attorney client has been established.
The statute with respect to a husband's liability for wife's debts is contained in the Maryland Family Code:
(a) (1) An individual is not liable for:
(i) any debt contracted by the individual’s spouse before the marriage; or
(ii) any claim or demand against the spouse that arose before the marriage.
(2) The debtor spouse and that spouse’s property are liable for the debt as if the marriage had not occurred.
(b) A husband is not liable:
(1) for a tort that is committed:
(i) separately by his wife; and
(ii) without his participation or sanction; or
(2) on a contract made by his wife in her own name and on her own responsibility.
(c) A judgment or decree in a proceeding under § 4-205(b) of this title shall:
(1) be passed against the wife only; and
(2) operate only on the property she owned individually before or after the marriage.
(d) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the property that a woman owns at the time of her marriage, or acquires after her marriage, is not liable for the payment of her husband’s debts.
(2) (i) A transfer of property between spouses is invalid if made in prejudice of the rights of present creditors.
(ii) A claim under this paragraph shall be asserted within 3 years after the transfer or be barred absolutely.
(iii) For purposes of this paragraph, all claims are considered due and matured.
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Technically no. But as my colleague said, there are "look back" provisions which prevent the fraudulent transfer of assets to avoid creditors.
DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.
A person is not liable for the debts of their spouse. If your spouse transferred assets into your name to hold in order to deprive creditors from being able to attach them, then such transfers are deemed fraudulent and a court may set them aside. However, without a factual basis to support this belief, the creditors may be going on a fishing expedition with this subpoena, and you may be able to file a motion to quash this subpoena. The creditors actions may be viewed as harassing. It is not your debt, nor are you a party to the suit. You should not have to be dragged into court, and have your private financial affairs publicly examined, in an effort to collect on another's debt. This seems to me to be improper. Similar subpoenas have been attempted in divorce actions, serving the new girlfriend or boyfriend of one of the spouses in the litigation to produce their income and expense records to prove extra sources of income, but the court will quash those subpoenas as improper. It's up to you, but if you do not object now, you may expect future filings against you by this aggressive creditor.
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