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Hutt & Schimanowitz, P.C. v. Tanzman

A-0045-02T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003) (Unpublished)

DOCTRINE OF NECESSITIES—A person who provides credit to one spouse in a business context cannot assume that the financial resources of the other spouse are available for payment of the debt.

A law firm sued a client’s wife for payment of legal fees her husband owed the firm in connection with its representation of the husband in a business matter. The law firm claimed that under the doctrine of necessities, the wife was liable for her husband’s legal fees. The doctrine of necessities protects creditors who provide necessary goods and services to either spouse by permitting the creditor to collect from either spouse. The lower court, in granting the wife’s motion for summary judgment, found that the doctrine of necessities did not apply in this case. The lower court refused to extend the doctrine of necessities to include debt incurred by a spouse in a business context. It noted that a creditor who provides services to a spouse in a business context cannot assume that the financial resources of both spouses are available for payment of that bill. The Appellate Division affirmed.


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