In a decision that will likely resonate with anyone who's ever had a joint bank account, or with creditors who have had to deal with them, the New Jersey Appellate Division recently confirmed that a judgment creditor of one spouse cannot successfully levy upon a joint bank account of a married couple unless the judgment creditor demonstrates that the funds in the joint account are the individual property of the judgment debtor.

In Banc of America Leasing and Capital v. Fletcher-Thompson, a judgment debtor maintained a joint account with his wife, who was not a defendant. Banc of America Leasing and Capital obtained a default judgment in the State of Michigan against the husband, another individual, and a corporation. Banc of America Leasing domesticated and registered its Michigan judgment in New Jersey and obtained a writ of execution for a bank levy by the sheriff, which was served on a bank. The bank froze funds in the couple's joint account.

(subscription required to access article)

Click here to view the full article