Except for student loans & government debts, wage garnishment can only occur when a creditor has sued someone & obtained a court judgment against them. You can't garnish someone not named in the lawsuit.
However, if the wages are then deposited into a joint bank account, the creditor can do an end run & take the money out of the bank account instead of directly taking the wages.
Hope this perspective helps!
I disagree with the earlier answer. Minnesota, like many other states, has a "necessities" law on its books (or recognized through court decisions). The necessities doctrine is one in which a spouse is liable for the debts of another if those debts were incurred for "necessities" - like food, gas, medical, etc. I see spouses sued all the time for debts their significant others incur - it doesn't matter if the other name isn't on the account. If you incurred these debts while married, and these debts could in any way be argued to be for a "necessity," then they certainly can sue your husband, obtain a judgment, and then garnish his wages. I do agree that, if you have a joint account, they can levy that account even if they don't have a judgment with your husband's name on it. Also, no credit card company is required to "work with you" - they are entitled to be paid what you agreed to pay them. As a practical matter, many do try to work something out to avoid garnishment, etc., but they aren't required to do so.
We can be reached at 507.334.0155. Our web address is: www. corbin-law-office.com. Answers on Avvo are not to be considered a response to a specific legal issue in a specific jurisdiction - they are to be considered only general responses to hypothetical scenarios posed by the questioner. For specific legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. No information contained herein should be construed as a solicitation for business, an offer to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which the attorneys of Corbin Law Office are not licensed, or the dissemination of legal advice. We are a debt relief agency. Corbin Law Office helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.
If he was named in a lawsuit for the credit card then, yes.
Unless he was an authorized user or cardholder on the account, his wages cannot be sued for the debt. Minnesota's "necessities" exception is an exception to the general rule that spouses are not liable for each others debts. Minn. Stat. Section 519.05 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=519.05) The doctrine of necessaries allows a creditor to go after the spouse if the debt was incurred for the benefit of the entire household. I have successfully defended claims against spouses on the basis that the credit card debt was not incurred primarily for the benefit of the entire household.
Minnesota garnishment law is different from most other states. A lawsuit is started by serving a Summons and Complaint - not by filing it with a court. And if you do not answer the lawsuit, the creditor can serve a garnishment before the case is ever filed with any court. Your bank accounts could be garnished without warning at any time 40 days or more after you are served with a lawsuit. If it is a joint account, all of the funds will be frozen and the non-debtor spouse has the burden of proving the money belongs to them. The creditor has to give you notice before garnishing your wages.