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14-6-110. Joint liability for family expenses.

Statute text

The expenses of the family and the education of the children are chargeable upon the property of both husband and wife, or either of them, and in relation thereto they may be sued jointly or separately.

History

Source: L. 1891: p. 238, 1. R.S. 08: 3021. C.L. 5575. CSA: C. 83, 10. CRS 53: 43-1-10. C.R.S. 1963: 43-1-10.

Annotations

 

ANNOTATION

Annotations

Law reviews. For comment on Wall v. Crawford, appearing below, see 11 Rocky Mt. L. Rev. 207 (1939). For article, "The Seller of One Mink Coat v. Pvt. Johnnie Doe", see 29 Dicta 148 (1952). For article, "One Year Review of Torts", see 38 Dicta 93 (1961). For comment on Nitzel v. Colorado Indus. Bank, appearing below, see 34 Rocky Mt. L. Rev. 240 (1962). For article, "The Big, Bad D's: Debts and Death in Divorce - Part I", see 25 Colo. Law. 57, (July 1996).

This section has not the effect to relieve the father of the duty to support his minor child, so far as the child is incapable of self-support, even though, upon divorce, the child is committed to the mother, and the decree makes no provision for its support. Desch v. Desch, 55 Colo. 79, 132 P. 60 (1913).

This section was not given a retroactive effect so as to cover contracts made before its passage. Kelly v. Canon, 6 Colo. App. 465, 41 P. 833 (1895).

Where the wife lives apart from the husband, with the children, the liability of the husband for clothing furnished to the children without his authority, depends upon common-law principles, and this section regarding family expenses has no application. O'Brien v. Galley-Stockton Shoe Co., 65 Colo. 70, 173 P. 544 (1918).

The duties of the wife, as wife, form the consideration for the husband's liability for her maintenance, and if she is guilty of offenses against the marital relation that entitles her husband to a divorce, and by reason thereof they do not live together, her contracts for necessaries will not bind the unoffending husband. Denver Dry Goods Co. v. Jester, 60 Colo. 290, 152 P. 903 (1915).

Where the parties were not living together as a family in fact, at the time the goods were sold, it is conceded that this section, relative to family expenses has no application. Denver Dry Goods Co. v. Jester, 60 Colo. 290, 152 P. 903 (1915).

Before this section can be invoked, a primary obligation upon either the husband or the wife, for the debt sought to be charged against them, must be established. Parker v. Joslin Dry Goods Co., 52 Colo. 238, 120 P. 1042 (1911).

In the absence of fraud between the husband and a family creditor, debts for family expenses, though contracted by the husband, bind the property of both husband and wife; agreements of the husband concerning such expenses are binding upon both; the cause of action accrues against both at the maturity of a note given for such expenses, not at the time the debt was contracted; renewal of the note by the husband alone does not discharge the lien; and the statute of limitations does not run in favor of either from the maturity of the first note, but of the new one. Wall v. Crawford, 103 Colo. 66, 82 P.2d 749 (1938).

A wife can be compelled to pay an indebtedness for something of which the family, or some one or more of its members, has had the actual benefit since it was incurred for family expenses. Straight v. McKay, 15 Colo. App. 60, 60 P. 1106 (1900).

Either husband or wife may incur indebtedness for the family expenses, and for such indebtedness either or both will be liable. Straight v. McKay, 15 Colo. App. 60, 60 P. 1106 (1900).

Outside of the expenses of the family and the education of the children, neither can impose an obligation upon the other. Straight v. McKay, 15 Colo. App. 60, 60 P. 1106 (1900).

What should be included in the term, "family expenses", must be determined by the facts and circumstances of each case, subject to the limitation, that an article or articles must have been purchased for, and used in or by, the family, or some member thereof. Houck v. La Junta Hdwe. Co., 50 Colo. 228, 114 P. 645 (1911).

A buggy purchased by the husband, while living with the wife, and which is used not only by the husband, but by the members of the family, while they are so living together, is a family expense for which the wife is liable. Houck v. La Junta Hdwe. Co., 50 Colo. 228, 114 P. 645 (1911).

Food and clothing are family expenses, and so are luxuries purchased for the use of the family, because such expenses are not confined to necessaries, but to be family expenses they must be for things received by the family, or some member of the family. Straight v. McKay, 15 Colo. App. 60, 60 P. 1106 (1900).

The expenses of procuring a team of horses used on the family farm is a family expense. Wall v. Crawford, 103 Colo. 66, 82 P.2d 749 (1938).

The rent of a house which the family does not occupy is not a family expense. Straight v. McKay, 15 Colo. App. 60, 60 P. 1106 (1900).

Applicability of family expense doctrine. Under the family expense doctrine, furniture which is used by and purchased for the family would be an obligation of the husband of the debtor even though he was not the contracting party, while personal property to be used by the debtor alone does not seem to be a family expense. In re Stanton-Rieger, 25 Bankr. 650 (Bankr. D. Colo. 1982).

Goods sold to the husband on the sole credit of a third person are not a charge upon the family, though consumed in the family. Parker v. Joslin Dry Goods Co., 52 Colo. 238, 120 P. 1042 (1911).

Under this section the goods of the wife are chargeable with the lien equally with those of the husband. McDonnell v. Solomon, 64 Colo. 226, 170 P. 951 (1918).

Funeral expenses come within the purview of this section. Espinoza v. Gurule, 144 Colo. 381, 356 P.2d 891 (1960).

Where plaintiffs become obligated for funeral expenses of their deceased son under this section, such obligation being imposed upon them by the wrongful act of defendant, they are entitled to recover such expenses in an action at law. Espinoza v. Gurule, 144 Colo. 381, 356 P.2d 891 (1960).

The fact that petitioner may not be legally liable for his wife's necessities under this section has no application to the homestead provisions, their purpose, and effect. Haas v. De Laney, 165 F. Supp. 488 (D. Colo. 1958).

Where at the time of filing the homestead entry and at the time of bankruptcy, a bankrupt was the head of a family, he was therefore entitled to claim a homestead exemption even though his wife had been absent at the time of filing for more than four years, and no family existed so as to make the bankrupt liable for the wife's expenses under the provisions of this section. Haas v. De Laney, 165 F. Supp. 488 (D. Colo. 1958).

Where a counterclaim on the note as a holder in due course was limited by the provisions thereof, it could not be asserted as a claim against the husband as a family expense as there was no evidence in the record showing that the husband legally assumed or agreed to pay the indebtedness, and he could not be held liable. Nitzel v. Colo. Indus. Bank, 145 Colo. 215, 358 P.2d 31 (1960).