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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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My daughter physically separated from her husband in Aug, 2012

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My daughter physically separated from her husband in Aug, 2012 and started divorce proceedings, legal forms, etc. They both reside in California. They have started mediation and share custody of the one child equally. But, the divorce is clearly not final.
He no longer has medical coverage for himself. My daughter's work covers her and the one child's medical expenses.
Question. Under this situation, if he has a (non-elective, think would be called called a "necessity") required medical expense (say a car accident, or a heart attach) is she in anyway responsible for those expenses?
Thanks, XXXXX
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Q: Under this situation, if he has a (non-elective, think would be called called a "necessity") required medical expense (say a car accident, or a heart attach) is she in anyway responsible for those expenses?

A: Section 914 of the CA Family Code, subdivision (a), states: "...a married person is personally liable for the following debts incurred by the person's spouse during marriage:

"(1) A debt incurred for necessaries of life of the person's spouse while the spouses are living together.

"(2) Except as provided in Section 4302, a debt incurred for common necessaries of life of the person's spouse while the spouses are living separately."

Section 4302 provides: "A person is not liable for support of the person's spouse when the person is living separate from the spouse by agreement unless support is stipulated in the agreement."

Thus, a spouse is personally liable for a debt incurred for `common necessaries of life' of his or her spouse while the spouses are living separately ... except that if the debt is incurred while they are separated under an agreement, the other spouse is personally liable only if liability for support is stipulated to in the agreement.

So, the answer to your question depends on whether your daughter and son-in-law have a separation agreement. If they do, then your daughter would only remain liable if the agreement stipulates that she is liable. But she would also be liable if they have no separation agreement.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I do not think they have jointly signed any agreement. She has processed the legal documents for a divorce, been assigned a judge, and started mediation.


So, does that mean she is liable for all of his necessary medical expenses now?

Hi again.

Yes, it sounds like she is still liable for those expenses. If she makes a separation agreement with her husband then it can state that they are not liable for the other's expenses, and that would protect her until the divorce is final.
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