Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Pennsylvania

If a credit card company wins a judgment against me, can they freeze my bank account and put a lien on my house if they are both in me and my husbands names.

Asked on 4/19/13, 7:35 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Yes generally they can, but let me explain.

Regarding bank accounts, if you have a judgment against you, then you should not have a joint bank account with anyone unless both you and the other person get Social Security or some other type of income that would be similarly exempt from creditors. If you do not get exempt income, then you need a separate bank account and keep no more than $300 in the bank.

Regarding your house - if your house is owned as a tenancy by the entireties (husband and wife), then it is safe from execution, meaning that the sheriff cannot force a sale of the home. Your husband generally is not liable for your credit card debts that are solely in your name and vice a versa.

However, if a judgment is entered against you, it will be difficult to refinance your home unless the judgment is taken care of in some pay. If you go to sell the home, the tenancy by the entireties will be destroyed and at that moment, the creditor can seek to enforce the judgment against your share of the equity. If there is no equity, then you may have a hard time selling the home at all unless you take other steps to resolve the judgment.

If you have no plans to sell or refinance the home, then you need not be concerned about this. But you do need to think about resolving the judgment depending on your circumstances. Maybe you do nothing; maybe you file bankruptcy; or maybe you save up your funds and someday resolve the judgment by way of settlement.

It sounds like you have been sued or about to be sued as judgment has not been entered yet. I have no idea what your plans are or whether you filed any kind of answer with the court or whether the time has expired for you to do that. However, you would probably benefit from a consult with an attorney to help you decide the best strategy for you. I give free email consults and charge $50 for a 30-minute phone consult. Please contact me at [email protected] if you are interested.

If you wish to pursue litigation, then you would be better off with local counsel. There are many attorneys here at Law Guru who specialize in this kind of thing.

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Answered on 4/19/13, 1:06 pm

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