When parties separate, there are so many questions involved and the norm is no longer the standard. You are going from being in one home, on one insurance plan, and paying bills together to now being apart, wanting a right to privacy, yet also needing support. One question our clients often have is whether or not they have to continue paying their spouse’s medical bills after the date of separation. This gets a little tricky, especially if you are on the same insurance policy and if the bills are in your name. On one hand, you don’t want to pay it because it is now your ex and paying anything extra for them is not something you want to do. On the other hand, if you don’t pay it, it could be tied to your name with a past due balance and then affect your credit in the end.
One option you have is to call the medical provider and discuss the separation and see if there are any options. However, most providers will not have sympathy for that when there is payment outstanding unless you can provide documentation that states you are not responsible for medical bills, such as a separation agreement. Another issue is when the date of service was and if it was before or after your date of separation. Under the Doctrine of Necessities in North Carolina, you are technically still legally responsible until you are officially divorced. The Doctrine of Necessaries states that you are legally responsible to provide for the expenses of your spouse, and it is still recognized in North Carolina. It is recommended that you notify medical providers in writing with notice of your separation or divorce. Then, you can be removed from the payment responsibility portion of the records for your ex.
As always, there are exceptions to the rule and ways to protect yourself from any unpaid medical bills. Contact an attorney at Hatcher Law Group today to discuss what options you may have if you see yourself in this position.
If you or someone you know may have a situation where any of the above-mentioned situations are involved, contact Hatcher Law Group for a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to understanding your rights and options moving forward.