Am I liable for my ex-wife’s hospital bills if she wasn’t on my insurance and pays her own bills?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Am I liable for my ex-wife’s hospital bills if she wasn’t on my insurance and pays her own bills?

A debt collector just called me saying I owe $2800, down from $18,000, from my ex-wife being in the hospital 2 and 1/2 years ago (we’ve been divorced for 2 years). She was never on my insurance, she paid/pays her own bills, and the debt collector said I was the first one they contacted about this – not her – they say the debt is in my name. Can they really hold me liable for this?

Asked on May 25, 2012 under Family Law, Kansas

Answers:

John York / John York Law Office

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

They can probably hold you liable for this if you are in a community property state.  Both parties are liable for the debts incurred by the other during the marriage if the debts were for a "community purpose."  A community purpose is anything that benefits the couple, the marital "community." Certainly the health of one of the spouses benefits the community.   The question is whether your wife disclosed this debt during the divorce proceedings and whether the judge allocated this debt to you in the divorce decree.  I would argue that if the judge did not allocate this debt to you in the divorce decree that you have no obligation to pay it.  It depends on the exact language of the decree. 

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are a lot of issues here that need to be sorted out, including that the hopspital stay could be considered a marital debt that should have been disclosed during the divorce proceeding.  Many states require that you pay for the "necessities" of your spouse and medical care is one of those necessities.  I would contact your ex and your lawyer.  Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption