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Was served with papers today saying i'm being sued along with my ex wife for hospital bill from 2009.

Salinas, CA |
Filed under: Sued for debt

I didn't file for a divorce until 2010 and it wasn't final until 2011. Am I legally responsible to pay for those bills even though I signed nothing, didn't stay at the hospital or nothing? If I am responsible for paying these bills is it too late to work something out with the collection agency? I could make minimum payments or something if I had to. The summons say I have 31 to respond. I also checked my credit and see that this same collection agency has several more bills that i'm sure i'll end up being sued for along with another collection agency that has a few more bills. What can I do?

Attorney Answers 3


Liability for debts incurred during the marriage is one of the most important issues to have addressed in the divorce. Community property laws can create liability by virtue of the marriage even where both parties didn't "sign" for the debt. Then there is the classic creditors' claim that "we aren't bound by the decree" as they pursue whichever former spouse has income or assets easier to attach. Nothing short of a consultation with an experienced family law practitioner will meet your needs. Obviously, this needs to be done immediately.

Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

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you need to hire a lawyer to defend the lawsuit for you. You need to file a response in a timely fashion otherwise they will get a default judgment against you and can then begin to garnish your wages or levy your bank account.

How much are you being sued for? Who is the attorney?

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Under California law (Family Code 910), most debts incurred after the date of separation (not the date of filing for divorce, nor entry of the divorce judgment), are separate property. Certain medical bills may be within an exception to this rule, but it will take more information to make that determination. Medical bills, especially those assigned to a collection agency, can be defended in court, both as to amount and as to liability. The plaintiff has the burden of proof, which means that it must bring witnesses and authenticated documents to court, respond to discovery requests, etc. Collection agencies make their money on the 90% of people who either allow a default judgment to be entered or who are intimidated into paying money. You should consult a lawyer who is experienced in this area of law right away so that you can resolve this lawsuit, resolve the other medical bills coming your way and protect your credit.

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