Will I be liable for a bill in my wife’s name?

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Will I be liable for a bill in my wife’s name?

Our 2 year son was taken to the emergency for a couple of stitches. We got a bill for about $3100 ($1500 per stitch). We tried to reason with the hospital to give us a reasonable bill but they insist that they have a lot of running costs for the hospital and if one walks into the emergency, they charge a high fee. We definitely feel that we are unreasonably being overcharged and we cannot afford to pay such a high bill. The bill is under my wife’s name and she does not have SSN or a bank account or credit history. If we ignore the bill, it is going to a collection agency. Can a bill collection agency attach that debt to me? We live in a community property state.

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the bill is in the name of your wife, she is responsible for the bill, but ultimately the entire community estate is responsible for paying your son's bill since the charge was incurred while you were married and it was for your son.

I would have a meeting with the accounts receivable department for the hospital to try and get a reduced bill and enter into a written agreement to make monthly payments on it. If you do not recognize the bill, the hospital will most likely file a legal action against your wife and assuming it prevails against her, your community assets would be responsible for paying off any judgment.


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