Am I Legally Responsible for My Spouse's Unpaid Medical Bill?

by Jennifer
(Colorado Springs, Colorado)

I live in Colorado, and my husband has an unpaid medical bill for $1500 from June of 2010. We just received a summons for both of us to appear in court for this debt. While we were and then, and are still are married, I am wondering why I am being summoned for my husband's debt.

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Jan 21, 2012
Am I Legally Responsible for My Spouse's Unpaid Medical Bill?

I am not sure why you are being sued because CO is a separate property state (not a community property state) which means that you are not legally responsible for your husband's debts unless you signed for the debt. Did you sign any paperwork agreeing to be responsible for the debt?

You may want to consult with a consumer law attorney in your area about your legal problem. Whatever you do however, be sure to show up in court to defend yourself. If you don't you risk having the judge hand down a default judgment against you and your husband, which would mean that there would be a court order for you to pay the $1500. The judge would probably order you to pay the attorney fees and court costs incurred by the company that sued you as well.

One other suggestion, if you cannot afford to pay the $1500, the medical provider that has sued you may be willing to let you settle your debt for something less in order to avoid the cost of litigation. Contact the provider if you want to explore this option and if you reach an agreement on a settlement, do not pay it until the terms of the settlement are on paper and you have a copy of the agreement. If you cannot agree on a settlement amount, find out if you can pay the $1500 in installments over time. Again, if you reach an agreement, don't begin paying on it until you have the terms of the agreement on paper. Resolving your past due debt via a settlement or a payment plan is far better than having a judgment against you, which will badly damage your credit history and lower your FICO score significantly.

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