A joint bank account is an account belonging to two persons. Each person can withdraw or deposit money from the account without the consent of the other. The joint bank account can be considered spouse or non-spouse. A non-spouse joint bank account belongs to individuals who aren’t married.

Can a Creditor Take Money From the Account for a Debt the Other Person Owes?

Yes. A creditor can garnish money from a joint checking or savings account even if the other person doesn’t owe the debt. In states like Ohio, West Virginia, and Michigan, creditors have the right to take all the money in the account. In other states, creditors can only take half of the money.

What are Traceable Contributions?

A traceable contribution refers to proving money in an account was deposited by the non-debtor. If the non-debtor is successful, the creditor can’t take any of the contributions.

How Can I Prove My Money in the Joint Account Should Not be Collected?

A non-debtor can use documentation to prove traceable contributions such as:

  • Paystubs
  • Government pension statements
  • Insurance statements
  • Annuity statements
  • Electronic transfers
  • Benefit statements

Is There Another Way to Show the Money was Traceable If I Made Deposits Only?

Yes, a non-debtor can show the joint account was a convenience account. A convenience account is usually a joint account where one person is added on to the account so the other can bank for him. It generally happens with adult children and elderly parents.

How Do I Prove My Joint Account was a Convenience Account?

The account must prove the joint account was actually solely owned by the non-debtor and includes:

  • Debtor not depositing own money account
  • Debtor not making personal withdrawal from the account
  • Debtor being added to the account later
  • Non-debtor solely benefited from the account

Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me Get My Money Back?

Yes, a finance lawyer will assist you in proving the money in the account was yours and not the debtor’s.