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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    4

    Thumbs down Medical Bills Accrued by Custodial Parent

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Washington

    I got a call from a collection agency on 10/25 stating that I must pay off passed due patient portion bills for my son that his mother (the Custodial Parent and Legal Guardian) failed to pay.

    When I told them the CP is the legally responsible person since she took the child to doctor and signed an greement to pay, they told me that since Im the father, I am legally responsible for the debt. Also, If I didnt pay, they would put the collection on my credit report. When I said they were wrong and in violation of FCRA and FDCPA, they said "We tried to help!" and hung up on me. When I called back and demanded their mailing address and the account number repeatedly, they refused/stalled many times and finally a manager supplied the information.

    The CP took him to the doctor and signed a contract to pay and listed me as the father. In fact, she takes him to many different walk-in clinics, medical/dental providers and never pays the patient portion after my insurance pays its portion. She takes him to each medical/dental provider until they deny treatment for unpaid PP bills.

    I am the NCP, never married and havent lived with the mother for 2.5 years. I pay for the childs health/dental insurance and child support. I have never received a bill or collection notices via mail and neither party will/can prove they know my address. All attempts were sent to her parents address she provided. Although I have never received a bill from the doctor, or the collection agency by mail, I have, however, seen the visits on my EOB. She chooses not to pay the patient portion after she signs as the legally responsibile person for the care provided.

    I have never signed a contract to pay. Can a doctor/collection agency force me to pay? Can the doctor/collection agency put this collection on my credit report without me signing and agreement to pay and they haven't met due diligence requirements?

    Simply put... Can the CP run all over the state racking up medical/dental bills for my son that go to collections and ruin my credit when I never agreed to pay?

  2. #2
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Medical Debt Accrued by Custodial Parent

    Third parties are not parties to your child support order and are not bound by its terms. You appear to have responsibility for the bills under the following statute:
    Quote Quoting RCW 26.16.205. Liability for family support — Support obligation of stepparent.
    The expenses of the family and the education of the children, including stepchildren, are chargeable upon the property of both spouses or both domestic partners, or either of them, and they may be sued jointly or separately. When a petition for dissolution of marriage or state registered domestic partnership or a petition for legal separation is filed, the court may, upon motion of the stepparent, terminate the obligation to support the stepchildren. The obligation to support stepchildren shall cease upon the entry of a decree of dissolution, decree of legal separation, or death.
    That statute is, in my opinion, poorly drafted and I don't have present access to secondary sources that might shed a greater light on its intent, but it appears to be a clumsy effort to formalize a parent's common law duty to support his children while expanding that duty, under certain circumstances, to stepparents.

    If the collector does report the debt to a CRA, I would object to the entry on the basis that the collector has no contractual basis to assert that the debt is yours (as you have not signed a contract obligating yourself to pay the uninsured balance) and as they have not exercised their apparent right to sue you and to thereby obtain a judgment establishing your liability.

    It may become necessary to take mom to court and ask for an amendment to the order compelling her to pay her share of medical bills in a timely manner, opening up the possibility of contempt proceedings if she does not.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Medical Debt Accrued by Custodial Parent

    Thank you for your reply, Mr. Knowitall. What are your thoughts on this letter I'm prepared to send via "official mail - return receipt requested"?

    Zach XXXX
    XXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXX XXXXX

    ATTN: Susan XXXXX
    XXXCollection Inc.
    PO BOX XXXX XXXXX

    Date: 10/XX/2010
    Re: Acct # XXXX

    To: Whom it may concern,
    This letter is being sent to you in response to Jamie XXXXXX phone call to me on October XX, 2010. Be advised that this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.

    This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you as I have not signed any contract obligating me to pay any uninsured balance at this provider.
    Please provide me with the following:

    What the money you say I owe is for; Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe; Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe; Identify the original creditor; Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account; Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state; Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.

    At this time I will also inform you that if your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the 3 major Credit Bureau’s (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) this action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:

    Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
    Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
    Defamation of Character

    If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested in the following Declaration, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.

    Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel for suit. This includes listing any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated, or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.
    If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.
    I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls and calls or correspondence sent to or with any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter by USPS.

    It would be advisable that you assure that your records are in order before I am forced to take legal action. This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

    Best Regards,


    Zach XXXXXX

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Medical Debt Accrued by Custodial Parent

    personally I would delete any section that seems as a threat and doesnt need to be said to be enforced, such as "if you report wrong things on my credit I will sue". I would think it is allready acknowledge you are serious about this just by the maturity of the letter and any chest pounding or legal threatening may actually cause you to look less professional and therfor less of a threat. Collections arent my area but just the way it seems to me.

    Other then that I think it is very good, get all the info you can and give as little as possible

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Update: "Medical Bill Accrued by Custodial Parent."

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Washington

    Please read the original thread below.
    Link to original thread: "Medical bill accrued by Custodial Parent."

    The lawsuit against me has been dropped. The Custodial parent, who signed the contractual agreement, has been found to be the legally responsible person for the payment of the debt.

    Mr. Knowitall was kind enough to produce this RCW:

    Quoting RCW 26.16.205. Liability for family support — Support obligation of stepparent.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The expenses of the family and the education of the children, including stepchildren, are chargeable upon the property of both spouses or both domestic partners, or either of them, and they may be sued jointly or separately. When a petition for dissolution of marriage or state registered domestic partnership or a petition for legal separation is filed, the court may, upon motion of the stepparent, terminate the obligation to support the stepchildren. The obligation to support stepchildren shall cease upon the entry of a decree of dissolution, decree of legal separation, or death.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Since we were never married, this RCW cannot apply. It was, however, the most helpful info. in dissmissing my lawsuit. I seriously doubt this judge wanted to set a precident.


    Keep in mind that the CP and I were never married and not living together at the time the debt was accrued. My obligation as stated in my child support order is to reimburse the CP at ##% for extraordinary medical expenses that she has PAID. Should she have paid this debt, I would've then been obligated to reimberse my percentage. All fine with me, except she decided not to pay, resulting in a lawsuit against both of us.

    One of the most noteable reasons for the suit against me being dropped was that the dental provider had my full name, address and phone number (provided by the CP at time of agreement) and failed to contact me in any way before sending the account to collection. So... The first time I heard about the debt was through collection call which violates the FDCPA.

    The CA, that brought suit, settled with me if I agreed not to bring a countersuit. I agreed and all is well.

    Do your homework before you let a CA take advantage of you. In this case, they where in the wrong.

    Thank you to those who replied to my original thread!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Update: "Medical Bill Accrued by Custodial Parent."

    Thank you for the update.

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