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The Doctrine of Necessaries

Published on April 13th, 2022

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Divorce Attorney

Did you know that one spouse can be obligated for necessary expenses incurred by the other spouse? This is called the Doctrine of Necessaries. The doctrine originated from the legal duty of the husband to provide for the expenses of his wife. Today, it applies to both husbands and wives equally. If the parties are married and the obligation entered into by one of the parties concerns a basic need (such as food, shelter, clothing, and especially medical care), then the other spouse can be obligated to pay for those necessary expenses. Even if the spouses are separated, the creditor can recover from the non-debtor spouse unless the creditor had actual knowledge that the parties were separated.

Divorce Lawyer

When this doctrine of necessaries applies, a party can establish a case “for the recovery of expenses incurred in providing necessary medical services for the other spouse” even if the spouse did not sign as a guarantor or request for the other spouse to be admitted. A health-care provider must show four different elements to establish a claim under the doctrine of necessaries. A provider must show that: (1) medical services were provided to the treated spouse;

(2) medical services were necessary for the health and well-being of the treated spouse; (3) the person against whom action is brought was married to the treated spouse at the time the medical services were provided; and (4) payment has not been made. If the above elements can be proven, the health care provider may be able to collect the payments due for the treatment of one spouse from the other spouse.

Divorce Attorney

You need a family law specialist when dealing with the doctrine of necessaries and a host of other issues. Speak with a divorce attorney like our friends at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law. A reputable lawyer will do everything they can to help you with your separation, divorce, and answer all of your questions

In the process of evaluating and selecting a lawyer, ensure that the lawyer has experience in the area in which the dispute is taking place and that they have a proven record of success. Ask as many questions as you can think of regarding their experience, and values in order to get a feel for how they operate. Your lawyer should openly communicate with you and work with you to develop a strategy that meets your needs. 

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