Advice on Medical Bills Responsibility
The ex-wife of my husband ran up a lot of medical bills and wants my husband to pay them now. Can she legally do this?
Hi, The ex wife of my husband took the kids to the doctor, many times, and didn't say a word about it. She named him responsible for to pay the bill, and the doctors agreed with her and billed him without contact him, not before of the appointment or after. The divorce decree says they both share the medical bills, and he also must pay the insurance (he does). A debt collector is gonna sue my husband for to not pay those bills, but my question is: how can a doctor relay in the ex wife word just because? why is she not being sue and is enough with her word saying that she doesn't have any money.... Shouldn't a judge decide if she can or not pay her half of the debt?Which also means that the debt doesn't really belong to my husband, it could belong to both, maybe. But I consider that those doctors are not acting right....if the ex wife can send bills to my husband without he even been aware of....why is the child support for? she gets child support, and she received spouse suport for a long time....and at that time she didn't pay anything either! Last time we received a bill from a doctor I called the doctor back...and she didn't even turned in the insurance information, and I asked them why was my husband been billed for that visit and I told them that I read that the parent that takes the kid to the doctor is the primary debtor, and that parent is the one that should be collecting the rest of the money from the other parent, the doctor has no right to even try to collect money from other than the patient...let's see if you can help me now...I need help, please.
Your husband has several options available to him to help rectify this situation, though none are particularly easy or pleasant. Your husband may have grounds to file a lawsuit against his ex-wife for violation of the divorce decree, since he and his ex agreed that they would be equally responsible for their children's medical care. He also may have a cause of action against her since she claimed him as the responsible party when he was not the responsible party. Also, if she signed his name without his permission on the documents assigning him as the responsible party, he may have further civil claims against her. Your husband may be able to file a lawsuit against her proactively for violation of the divorce decree and any other claims he may have, which would hopefully result in a ruling against her ordering that she pay at least half of these medical bills. Alternatively, if one of the medical providers files a collection lawsuit against your husband, he may have grounds to name his ex-wife as a third-party defendant, which could result in a judgment against her in favor of the medical providers, allowing them to collect against her rather than against your husband.
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From your question, it sounds like several medical providers may be pursuing your husband for payment, in which case it may be better for him to take proactive action against his ex-wife to protect his interests in case these collectors decide to push forward with legal action against him. Regardless of what action he decides to take, I strongly encourage your husband to consult with an attorney licensed in your state to discuss the situation and to help you and him determine the best way to proceed. If your husband’s attorney recommends taking legal action, he should be able to explain the specific causes of action your husband can reasonably claim. Also, your attorney should be able to tell you whether or not taking legal action against your husband’s ex-wife makes financial sense, or if it would be better to simply seek a court order barring her from making similar claims in the future.
Your husband may decide, on the other hand, to simply pay these debts, and tell his ex-wife that if she ever does anything like this again, that he will sue her. I say this for a couple of reasons — first, it may cost more to sue her than to just pay these bills. Second, I presume that your husband’s children live with his ex-wife, and I doubt that he wants his children to be embroiled in the type of low-brow conflict that so often results from this type of familial dispute. Certainly, I think that your husband has the law on his side in this situation, and that he should consult with an attorney, but he should consider how any action on his part may affect his relationship with his ex-wife and potentially with his children.
I wish you and your husband the best of luck in resolving this dispute.
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