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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 116707
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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I would love to get your help on the legality of our particular

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I would love to get your help on the legality of our particular situation. I am currently in the process of going through bankruptcy (as a individual vs. married). The reason for the bankruptcy is due to the medical bills that I strictly have accumulated over the past two years, in my name only. The two main hospitals that I had applied for financial hardships asking to make one reasonable mo. payment instead of numerous payments for each visit totaling over $850 a mo. Since I submitted all my families financial information and was denied I have been served Warrant in Debt Subpoena with them listing both myself and husband. Do they have a legal right to come after him even after I file my bankruptcy? I have not worked since my stroke, seven surgeries and numerous other complications. On top of all this, many of the new hospital bills they are coming after us for are the amounts that insurance is not and will not pay for even those there has been no lapse in coverage, just went on Cobra from employer, which has been trying to drop. There is no other insurance I am eligible for and as so concerned that we have no rights in any of this. I would be grateful for any word of wisdom from you! Thanks and
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

The VA courts apply what is called the "doctrine of necessaries" which is a common law principle based on the relationship of the parties to the debtor and the duties owed to the debtor by the parties. See: Zelnick v. Adams, 263 Va. 601, 561 S.E.2d 711 (Va., 2002) (discussing infancy and doctrine of necessaries). The courts hold that each spouse owes the duty of mutual care and support of the other spouse and the providing of medical care is within the scope of that duty. This is what the creditor is pursuing your husband based upon after you filed your bankruptcy and they cannot come after you because of that bankruptcy. Sadly, this does mean they can get a judgment and collect against him based on this debt, since he has not filed bankruptcy along with you and he may want to consider joining you in the bankruptcy now as a marital bankruptcy to avoid this debt and have it completely extinguished.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your help, that is exactly what we were worried about and because all our accounts are joint and he is self employed as a licensed LMFT, I just updated him to an LLC. I don't think that will stop them for coming after him for the debt and garnishments. I must say, it is disheartening these days when you make every attempt to make arrangement to pay debts (never missed one payment) and once they had all the documents from the hardship application, they used them to come after both of us with a warrant in debt. Both are non profit hospitals that apparently debt and as well. I am grateful for your response because it concerned me greatly that my bankruptcy lawyer didn't no the answer but said he didn't think it was possible for them based on the fact that they were not my husbands bills and he only signed me in to the ER when I was critical so he felt he could not be held liable. I really don't want to and cant afford two bankruptcy's so the answer your giving me is crucial...thank you! I will look up the cases you noted and ask that you give me any other search/doc. to read up on prior to filling my bankruptcy tomorrow.

Thank you for your response.

Yes, I am afraid that the courts will in most all cases consider medical debt of one spouse to be a duty of the other spouse to pay. Thus, even the LLC would not protect him at this point I am afraid. Medical debts have become problematic for so many I am sad to say. I am afraid that if you do not do the marital bankruptcy they will still be able to garnish him and you have to weigh the cost of the bankruptcy versus the cost of them garnishing him.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you! Your wisdom will help us to stop the financial bleeding by proceeding with the marital version. Are we protected once the bankruptcy is filled prior to the warrant in debt going to court? MY last question...thanks :)

Thank you for your response.

Yes, you are protected if you file the bankruptcy now and when you do you notify the court where the warrant in debt is filed and that proceeding has to be stopped until the bankruptcy is decided and if bankruptcy is awarded the debt is extinguished and that suit is dismissed.
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