There are some states that are known as community property states.
If you have a judgment awarded in one of the community property states,
you need to take note of that fact. Basically in a community property
state spouses are responsible for the debts incurred both by themselves
individually and also those debts incurred by the spousal partner.
Be aware of these areas of judgment law if you are in a community
Currently these are the community property states:
Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas,
Washington, and Wisconsin.
This generally means that you can pursue your judgment
collection efforts against both of the spouses at the same time.
As long as they were married at the time of the judge’s order,
both of them are equally liable for the judgment debt.
You will want to check the statutes in the particular
community property state to confirm the extent of a spouse’s
liability for the judgment debt. You should be able to pursue both
spouses in your quest to collect your judgment. It might not matter
whether they are still married, as long as they were when the money
judgment issued from the court. You likely would be able to levy,
garnish, or pursue any enforcement strategy against both of them
at the same time. Since any assets owned by one spouse, belong to
both, you are free to go after assets belonging to either partner
in your attempt to get paid for your judgment.
One thing to find out, is if you need to add the
other spouse to the judgment before going after his/her assets.
Some states require the filing of a motion or declaration with the
court which explains that you will hold the other spouse liable
for the judgment debt.
It is very encouraging to know that you can pursue
both spouses in collecting your judgment. Sometimes the one who
was your original legal adversary will be difficult or impossible
to collect from. This is sometimes referred to as being judgment
proof. But in community property states, you have 2 debtors which
gives you double the chance to collect all of the money you are
A quick trip to the local law library or a few minutes
research on the internet might easily clarify the situation with
your judgment from a community property state. Being clear on these
aspects of judgment law are vital for you to know.
You can find links to the complete sets of statutes
for all 50 states by clinking on this link: