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Married and no longer work. Can they garnish my husbands wages for my debt in Washington?

Tacoma, WA |

Can a collection agency garnish my husband's wages for my lack of payment for deb that has gone to collections?

I am married and am no longer employed. I have a debt that has gone to collections that is only in my name.

What can happen if I am not able to pay this debt? (sue me, jail, seize my assets etc)

How can I find out if my husband will have his wages garnished in WA?

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Attorney answers 3


They cannot garnish your husband's wages for your debt unless he is a cosignor. If you don't pay the creditor, the debt collection agency can sue you, get a judgment and garnish your wages (when you go back to work) or bank accounts or put a lien on your assets.

They cannot put you in jail but they may tell you that they will garnish your wages to scare you. You should see a bankruptcy attorney. It may make sense to file now to get rid of these problems so they don't sneak up on you later on in life. Good luck.


Good news, debtors prison went out in the 1800's. If the debt is solely in your name your husband cannot be garnished unless they try to put his name into the lawsuit. If they do he should fight that. Be careful though, even though they can't garnish him, if he puts his paycheck into a bank account you and he hold jointly, all the money in the account is subject to attachment even if it is all his.


The answer to this question on whether your husband’s wages will be garnished depends on when the debt was incurred. If the debt is from prior to your marriage, his wages are probably safe.

Washington community property law means that both spouses are liable for any debt incurred during your marriage for the benefit of the community (which is nearly all debts). Both spouses wages are community property that can be garnished to satisfy community debts.

Yes, your husband does have to be specifically named for his wages to be garnished, but that is a real possibility in Washington. You cannot be put in jail, but the creditor can take up to 25% of your husband's wages with a valid garnishment order.