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  1. #1

    Default Spouse's Liability for Medical Bills; Separated > 10 Years and Living in England

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Texas
    My Mother in law has been separated and living in England for 10+ years (she is English but married in Texas).
    There has been no contact since moving back other than through my partner (their son).
    We have just discovered that he is in hospital with cancer and he has no medical insurance.
    The expected hospital stay is 2-3 months. I assume his estate will not cover the final medical bill.
    I am worried that in the event of his death she would be liable for unpaid bills?
    Any advice greatly accepted.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Spouse's Liability for Medical Bills; Separated > 10 Years and Living in England

    Texas has statutorily codified a "doctrine of necessities", and necessary medical care falls under that rule.
    Quote Quoting Texas Family Code, Sec. 2.501 - Duty to Support
    (a) Each spouse has the duty to support the other spouse.

    (b) A spouse who fails to discharge the duty of support is liable to any person who provides necessaries to the spouse to whom support is owed.
    Quote Quoting Texas Family Code, Sec. 3.201. Spousal Liability
    (a) A person is personally liable for the acts of the person's spouse only if:
    (1) the spouse acts as an agent for the person; or

    (2) the spouse incurs a debt for necessaries as provided by Subchapter F, Chapter 2. [Sec. 2.501]
    (b) Except as provided by this subchapter, community property is not subject to a liability that arises from an act of a spouse.

    (c) A spouse does not act as an agent for the other spouse solely because of the marriage relationship.
    I don't see anything in Texas law that removes a spouse's duty to support the other spouse on the basis of separation. (There may be such a rule, and you should double-check with a Texas family lawyer; if there is such a rule it's hard to find.)

    If your mother-in-law isn't planning to return to the United States, I am skeptical that any creditors will attempt to pursue her in England.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Spouse's Liability for Medical Bills; Separated > 10 Years and Living in England

    Thank you for your reply.
    She has no plans to come back to America and no one over there knows of her new address so hopefully she will be left in peace.

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