Being we are on a community property state, how can the collection agency legally go after non filing spouse if they are still married? 15 Answers as of April 08, 2014

I just received collection letter on wife’s hospital bill she filed and discharged in chapter 7 in 2012. This appears to be contempt of bankruptcy order.

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EDWARD P RUSSELL | EDWARD P RUSSELL
The only person receiving a discharge of debt is the person who filed the bankruptcy. She is discharged as to that debt but you still owe the debt.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/8/2014
Rhymer Law Firm
Rhymer Law Firm | William Rhymer
Georgia is not a community property state.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 4/3/2014
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
First, Ohio isn't a community property state, it's a common law state. But in Ohio and most (maybe all) other states a spouse is responsible for the "necessaries" including necessary healthcare bills of his/her spouse. Necessaries includes food, shelter, clothing (maybe not a stupid number of shoes) So, if your wife had a nose job - it's not a necessary health care bill but if your wife was sick or injured - you're on the hook. So, your wife is off the hook for these medical bills because they were discharged in her bankruptcy but you didn't go bankrupt, so you're still liable on them.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/3/2014
Detroit Lawyers, PLLC
Detroit Lawyers, PLLC | Nick Best
Michigan is not a community property state, but that appears to be a violation of the discharge regardless. If the hospital bill was in the wife's name, it's a discharged debt and appears to be in violation of the discharge order. I'd contact the hospital and let them know.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/3/2014
Law Office of Marlin Branstetter
Law Office of Marlin Branstetter | Marlin Branstetter
Her bankruptcy filing only protects her, you were not discharged. In community property states both parties are responsible for community debts. You may be held responsible.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/3/2014
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Did you mean "not" a community property state? You will have to ask local counsel. My guess is that most likely you were listed on the hospital forms as an additional person responsible for the bill. That is common term in admission forms.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    Law Offices of Linda Rose Fessler | Linda Fessler
    If you were married when the bills occurred, you are still liable.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    Marc S. Stern
    Marc S. Stern | Marc S. Stern
    It probably is as long as they are seeking community property. You need to talk to your bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
    In Colorado we have a law called the Family Purpose Doctrine. This law states that if one spouse incurs a debt that "helps the family", the other spouse is also liable for the debt, even if that spouse knows nothing about the debt. The most obvious kinds of things would be food, shelter, medical treatment, etc. You have no standing to assert Contempt of Court, since you did not file the bankruptcy. Lastly, in Colorado (and most states), the Statute of Limitations bars claims after six years for a signed agreement, and three years for a verbal agreement. Since you did not sign anything, the three year statute of limitations may apply (I don't know this for sure, but if it helps you it would pay you to do the research).
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    Idaho Bankruptcy Law | Paul Ross
    Your understanding of community property and discharge is off. Any debts incurred while a couple are married can be held to either party, even if the other's name is not on the debt. However, the discharge of only one spouse only applies to that spouse. The creditor can still collect against the non-filing spouse even after discharge of the other.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    They cannot collect from your separate property for her debt. The community is the only source for the debt, so you are correct, they should not be contacting you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Since you state you live in a community property state, the medical debt could be considered community debt and you are liable for your spouses medical bills. I suggest you consult with a consumer law/bankruptcy lawyer to discuss in more detail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    If the non-filing spouse did not file bankruptcy, the argument would be that only the filing spouse's obligation to pay the debt was discharged. Both spouses are responsible for each others medical debts. However, it may be that the creditor is not aware of the bankruptcy and mistakes do happen. Why not send the creditor a copy of the bankruptcy discharge and see what happens?
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    I suggest sending them a copy of the notice of bk and the discharge order and advising them that the debt was discharged; tell them if they continue to attempt to collect that you will seek to hold them in contempt.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/3/2014
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    Michigan is not a community property state. Generally the person can't go after you, unless you signed to be responsible, for your wife's medical bill. Check with her bankruptcy lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/3/2014
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