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the original judgement was for $7400 the balance is about $3400 so the way I understand what you said is the debt is small enough that they cant come after my house or cars or any personal property because the debt is only in her name and everything else is only in my name.
In Pennsylvania if a wife has a judgment against only her and not the husband and husband and wife own property as tenants by the entirety or have joint bank accounts, the creditor of the wife CANNOT take any part of the bank account, nor can he sell any asset to satisfy his judgment which has the names of both husband and wife.
Pennsylvania is unique in that a husband and wife can hold any asset as tenants by the entirety and a creditor of only spouse cannot touch those assets
You are correct. Anything in your name alone cannot be touched (and technically in Pennsylvania it's still marital property, and still could not be touched because the judgment is not against both of you). Anything in joint names cannot be touched.
If the bank account is in both names and the judgment is only against your wife, they cannot levy on the account to satisfy their judgment. The banks have access to legal advice, if not one or two attorneys on staff and they should know the law.
As a precautionary measure, I would send a letter to one of the VP's, someone in authority, putting them on notice, so that if some clerk makes a mistake, it will be their problem, since you went the extra mile and let them know.
If, by chance, it does fall into the hands of a bank clerk and your joint account is affected, you would have a cause of action against the bank for all damages you may incur because of a mistake on the part of someone who was not informed to keep an eye on your account to be sure that no levy is placed on it.
I had a situation similar to yours where a judgment was obtained against the wife only; the Sheriff went to the marital residence and wanted to take an inventory of the wife's property for purposes of Sheriff's sale to satisfy the judgment of the creditor; I told the wife if this happens, tell the sheriff that everything in the house is jointly owned as tenants by the entirety. The Sheriff smiled at her and left, he knew he could not take any of the personal property.
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ANDREA, JD, LL.M., Taxation
Member, NY & PA Bar
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