Enforcing a Judgment from a Community Property State

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 property state.

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 owed.

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.

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