If I’m seperated from my husband who is not paying his medical bills and as a result my wages are being garnished, what can I do?

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If I’m seperated from my husband who is not paying his medical bills and as a result my wages are being garnished, what can I do?

Asked on December 14, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, since you are separated but not divorced, you are still legally husband and wife. Now in most states, one spouse is not typically responsible for the debts of the other. However, there exists something known as the "Doctrine of Necessities". In some states (MO included), debts incurred for medical treatment are generally considered "necessities". Accordingly, a spouse can be held liable for the other spouse's medical bills. Basically, my research suggests that under the doctrine a spouse may be held liable for necessary medical services provided to the other spouse if the other spouse maintains no separate assets.

At this point you should consult directly with an attorney in your area as to your specific rights/responsibilities.


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