Collector - March 2020 - 48

Understanding the Doctrine of Necessaries
How to determine if a spouse is liable
for the other spouse's debts.

I

f a consumer is married, is the
consumer's spouse automatically
responsible for the consumer's debts?
The issue is generally controlled by the
laws of the state where the consumer and
their spouse reside, and states have taken
differing approaches on the subject.
The notion of a spouse being liable
for the other spouse's debt is derived
from the "doctrine of necessaries," which
is a concept borrowed from English
common law. Essentially, the doctrine
of necessaries states that a husband is
financially responsible for the purchases of
a spouse, provided the goods or services
are purchased for necessaries, such as food,
clothing, shelter, medical care, or education
for minor children. This principle of
English common law was brought to
America and became part of the American
legal system. However, over time, states
have taken varying approaches when
applying the doctrine, and many states
have expanded the concept to apply equally
to both spouses.
A majority of states have laws or court
decisions making both spouses liable
for debts that have been incurred for
necessaries. For example, Colorado law
states that both the husband and the wife
are liable for the expenses of the family and
the education of the children. Illinois has a
similar law that holds a husband and wife
liable for the expenses of the family and
education of the children, and therefore,
the husband and wife may be sued jointly
or separately for such obligations.
Other states such as Florida have
rejected the doctrine of necessaries
altogether. One district court in Florida
expounded on the subject saying, "Because
constitutional considerations demand
equality between the sexes, it follows that
a husband can no longer be held liable
for his wife's necessaries. We therefore

48

abrogate the common law doctrine of
necessaries, thereby leaving it to the
legislature to determine the policy of the
state in this area."
Because the doctrine has not been
uniformly applied by states, it is critical
for debt collectors to know how a given
state addresses this concept. The recently
updated ACA SearchPoint document
#2036, Doctrine of Necessaries, provides
ACA members with state laws on this

subject to aid in the determination of who
is responsible for a debt.
Have you checked out ACA's member-only
SearchPoint library? ACA SearchPoint is
filled with documents that put important
compliance information related to the
FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, state laws and
many other topics at your fingertips.
To access ACA SearchPoint, visit
acainternational.org/searchpoint.

Built for start-ups. Scalable for growth.
Demo.Collect-Cloud.com | Collect.org

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.acainternational.org/searchpoint http://Demo.Collect-Cloud.com http://www.Collect.org http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - March 2020

Collector - March 2020 - Cover1
Collector - March 2020 - Cover2
Collector - March 2020 - 1
Collector - March 2020 - 2
Collector - March 2020 - 3
Collector - March 2020 - 4
Collector - March 2020 - 5
Collector - March 2020 - 6
Collector - March 2020 - 7
Collector - March 2020 - 8
Collector - March 2020 - 9
Collector - March 2020 - 10
Collector - March 2020 - 11
Collector - March 2020 - 12
Collector - March 2020 - 13
Collector - March 2020 - 14
Collector - March 2020 - 15
Collector - March 2020 - 16
Collector - March 2020 - 17
Collector - March 2020 - 18
Collector - March 2020 - 19
Collector - March 2020 - 20
Collector - March 2020 - 21
Collector - March 2020 - 22
Collector - March 2020 - 23
Collector - March 2020 - 24
Collector - March 2020 - 25
Collector - March 2020 - 26
Collector - March 2020 - 27
Collector - March 2020 - 28
Collector - March 2020 - 29
Collector - March 2020 - 30
Collector - March 2020 - 31
Collector - March 2020 - 32
Collector - March 2020 - 33
Collector - March 2020 - 34
Collector - March 2020 - 35
Collector - March 2020 - 36
Collector - March 2020 - 37
Collector - March 2020 - 38
Collector - March 2020 - 39
Collector - March 2020 - 40
Collector - March 2020 - 41
Collector - March 2020 - 42
Collector - March 2020 - 43
Collector - March 2020 - 44
Collector - March 2020 - 45
Collector - March 2020 - 46
Collector - March 2020 - 47
Collector - March 2020 - 48
Collector - March 2020 - 49
Collector - March 2020 - 50
Collector - March 2020 - 51
Collector - March 2020 - 52
Collector - March 2020 - Cover3
Collector - March 2020 - Cover4
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202004
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202003
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202002
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202001
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201912
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201911
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201910/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201909/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201908/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201907/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201906/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201905/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201904/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201903/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201902/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201901/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201812/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201811/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201810/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201809/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201808/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201807/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201806/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201805/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201804/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201803/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201802/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201801/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201712/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201711/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201710/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201709/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201708/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201707/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201706/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201705/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201704/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201703/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201702/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201701/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201612/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201611/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201610/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201609/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201608/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201607/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201606/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201605/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201604/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201603/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201602/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201601/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201512/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201511/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201510/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201509/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201508/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201507/
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com