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Federal Law Vs Civil Law on Collectoins


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I have a friend who's ex husband is responsible for their daughters medical bills and today she got a call from a collection company stating the ex husband has not paid and if he doesnt pay, then they will come after her and report it to the CB's though she has informed them that according to the divorce decree, he is responsible for all medical bills.

thats when quotes some statute and said ..federal law trumps civil law and its..blah blah blah..read her some official legal speak language.

so seeing if that is true or not

thanks in advance

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This is hard to understand by what you say on your post. However, Federal trumps state law. That being said, if she has a divorce decree stating he is responsible for the medical expenses the state law ruling is sufficient to protect her even under Federal law.

Edited by debtfighter
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That being said, if she has a divorce decree stating he is responssible for the medical expenses the state law ruling is suficient to protect her even under Federal law.

Not correct. It's simple contract law. If she was a co-signer (can't imagine she was not), then the divorce decree is useless. A divorce court judge can't undo a contract between your friend and the medical provider.

Your friends recourse would be to pay the bill then sue or drag the ex-husband back to court. The divorce court judge could then hold him in contempt and order payment back to your friend.

Only a bankruptcy judge can rework a contract. If you co-signed for the bills, that's a contract with the medical provider. It's basically a joint account.

If she is a co-signer, does not pay, and then is put on her credit report, that is not a violation. If she never signed to be responsible, the medical provider is setting themselves up for a nice lawsuit.

Your friend is not responsible for future medical bills, unless she once again signs or agrees. In other words if she takes her child to the doctor and signs as the guardian, she can't then tell the med provider to send the bill to her ex.

Credit and Divorce

Facts for Consumers

Mary and Bill recently divorced. Their divorce decree stated that Bill would pay the balances on their three joint credit card accounts. Months later, after Bill neglected to pay off these accounts, all three creditors contacted Mary for payment. She referred them to the divorce decree, insisting that she was not responsible for the accounts. The creditors correctly stated that they were not parties to the decree and that Mary was still legally responsible for paying off the couple's joint accounts. Mary later found out that the late payments appeared on her credit report.

How to handle collection calls about your ex-spouse's debts

Ex-spouse Debts :

Whether you are responsible for your ex-husband's or ex-wife's debts depends on the circumstances surrounding the issue, your state law and perhaps most importantly, who signed the credit contract. For instance, if your name is still on the credit contract then, even though you are divorced, you are still responsible for the debt regardless of what the divorce decree states. It's important to understand that a divorce decree only spells out who is supposed to pay the debt. It does NOT legally change who is responsible for the debt.

Assets and Debts : Missouri Divorce and Family Law Blog

If parties have joint debt, whether it is a credit card, loan, auto loan, mortgage, or other debt, a divorce decree cannot change the relationship between the parties and their creditors. While a court can order a party to assume a debt and hold the other party harmless, if that party defaults, then the creditor can collect from either party on the debt. This means that the party not responsible for the debt may have to pay the debt or risk credit damage,

Debt and Divorce: Facts to Know Before, During and After Divorce

Dead on for the OP situation with a collection call.

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id tell whoever is getting called to get a tape recorder while they try to sort this out.

those collection calls may turn ugly, grounds for an epic victory.

id also start some good record keeping (if not already)

NOT a good reccommendation.....in certain states, you can get into a lot of trouble recording conversations without informing the other person. The poster did not say where he / she lived. Some states require that BOTH parties be informed.

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Thanks, you never can trust a CA on what they say. sucks on her part bc when you take a kid to the ER, you have to sign paperwork and im assuming part of that is being responsible for the bill so they kind of have you by the you know whats there. never been to ER so not sure if theres a spot to put the ex-husband as person responsible or if they would allow it.

good info to know for future reference. bottom line, the ex just needs to pay.

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Thanks, you never can trust a CA on what they say. sucks on her part bc when you take a kid to the ER, you have to sign paperwork and im assuming part of that is being responsible for the bill so they kind of have you by the you know whats there. never been to ER so not sure if theres a spot to put the ex-husband as person responsible or if they would allow it.

good info to know for future reference. bottom line, the ex just needs to pay.

Yeah it does stink and they do have you in the ER. Even if there was a spot to put for the EX it would not matter. The ER simply does not care about a divorce decree, and by law they don't have to care. They care about getting paid and the person that signs is responsible.

I had a kidney stone once and went to the ER. They put two pieces of paper in front of me to sign. I could have been signing that I would pay them a million dollars a month for life. I could have cared less.

I'm sure your friend is the same way. If they take a child to the ER they probably just want to get treated quickly and not think about how the bill is going to be handled in relation to a divorce decree.

If leagal (one party state) I would still record the calls. There can be tons of violations that have nothing to do with the divorce decree.

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Coltfan1972, nice. I knew you had it in you to make such an informative response. Just so I do not look like an idiot here, I went off of the op and the post where it was never mentioned about who signed what contract and referred to Federal Law vs civil law, which I took to mean state law. The divorce decree will allow them to go back after the spouse to pay that bill.

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