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When a defendant loses a lawsuit and the plaintiff obtains a judgment, NC law offers significant protections to the defendant.
These protections are called exemptions and they protect property and money from being seized to satisfy the judgment.
If you were not party to the lawsuit personally than property that belongs only to you can not be seized. Also if you own property jointly as Husband and Wife (Called Joint Tenancy by the Entireties) that property can not be seized.
Property that your wife owns in her own name alone may be seized subject to the following exemptions:
$35,000 in equity in a residence (or $60,000 if the residence was owned with a now-deceased spouse);
To the extent that you do not use the $35,000 residence exemption, then up to $5,000 in equity in any property of whatever type;
$3,500 in equity in any one vehicle;
$5,000 in equity in household goods, plus $1,000 household goods for each dependent, up to a maximum additional amount of $4,000;
$2,000 in equity in tools or equipment that are used in a business or trade;
Health-related items, such as hospital beds, scooters, and the like;
Certain investment property, including certain life insurance policies, certain retirement plans, and certain college savings plans;
Money that comes from personal injury settlements, alimony, child support, TANF/Workfirst, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, and sixty (60) days worth of your wages or earnings used to support the family.
Here is the form that is used to claim the exemptions:
Additionally, under federal law her Social Security may not be garnished.
So to summarize your property is not at risk. Her Social Security and Life insurance and other retirement is not at risk.
You should declare as much as you can in regard to her other property that meets the exemption criteria.
You may wish to include a statement that provides that she has no ownership in regard to the cars, the house etc. just to put the sheriff on notice.
Here is a link to the law:
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