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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37639
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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UH OH ...my domestic partner and I are in BIG trouble. We both

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UH OH ...my domestic partner and I are in BIG trouble. We both moved from states that recognize common law marriages (colorado and Texas) and after 6 months of co-habitation we made a horrible mistake in presuming that we would be considered married in AZ as well. When Carl become eligible for insurance we put ourselves down as husband and wife. We in no way meant any defraud...we truly believed that the 6 months and introducing ourselves as husband and wife qualified. So for over a year I, and my dependant child have been on Carl's insurance. we just found out that this may be considered fraud and that he may lose his job. Not only that but any thing I have used the insurance for may have to be repaid. I am trying not to panic...I know ignorance of the law is not considered a defense but we are simple people and our hoping for an amicable resolution!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.
Good afternoon,

I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.

If you are considered married under the common law of another state, Arizona is obligated to acknowledge that common law marriage. However, if you merely presumed that AZ was also a common law marriage state you have a problem.

While fraud requires that the prosecutor prove that you had the intent to defraud--which implies that you knew that you were not husband and wife, your husband could be terminated none-the-less, and you could be forced to pay back any medical benefits paid out on your behalf and that of your child, if your husband is not the natural father of your child.

I wish you well.

Best regards,

Doug

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Well that is the information I have sort of read already...do you feel there is any way to mitigate the damage? I don't know how we can "prove" that we didn't intend fraud...although that is how we see it, but base on our erroneous presumption is there no way to prevent having to pay back benefits? we are just sick
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.
Good afternoon,

Consider it mitigated if you aren't prosecuted for insurance fraud--honestly, under the circumstances that will be a great result. Insurance fraud is a felony.

You simply made a mistake--a mistake which probably cost someone some money. If the injured party seeks to have you reimburse that money you will be legally obligated to do so, I'm afraid.

While I strive to give you an accurate and applicable answer to your question, I don’t have the ability to provide you with favorable law if it doesn't exist. As you read my answer to your question, I ask you to please don't shoot the messenger.

Under Arizona law, at best, XXXXX XXXXX will be seen as negligent. As a result of your negligence the agrieved party can get a judgment against you for the money that they are out as a result of your negligence.

I wish you well.

Best regards,

Doug

LawTalk and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.

Good afternoon,

If I can help you with anything else, please feel free to ask me.

Best regards,

Doug