Who is responsible for paying a dentist bill for a child?

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Who is responsible for paying a dentist bill for a child?

Prior to a divorce, my friend took her stepson to the dentist and signed the paperwork. She has since divorced this child’s father. She is not and has never had legal guardianship of the child. She is now being sued for this debt. Is she responsible for paying this or is the father? If debt can be transferred to father, what are the necessary steps?

Asked on December 20, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your friend who has been divorced when she took her stepson to the dentist was actually living with the stepson's father at the time of the dental visit, she and the father would both be responsible for the child's unpaid dental bill.

The reason is that the debt was incurred during her marriage to the child's father.Quite possibly the child's father may be required to reimburse your friend for the dental bill (assuming she pays any portion of it) under the presumed marital dissolution decree.

If she is being sued for the debt, she needs to carefully read her presumed marital dissolution decree to see if the issue is mentioned within it. After reading the decree, she needs to contact the stepson's father to see if he is going to end up paying the debt.


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