St. Marys Hosp. Med. Ctr. v. Brody

In St. Marys Hosp. Med. Ctr. v. Brody, 186 Wis. 2d 100, 519 N.W.2d 706 (Ct. App. 1994), the Court looked to Wis. Stat. 765.001(2) to define the duty of support within the meaning of Wis. Stat. 766.55(2)(a). Section 765.001(2) declares that husbands and wives "owe to each other mutual responsibility and support," and that "each spouse has an equal obligation in accordance with his or her ability to contribute money or services or both which are necessary for the adequate support and maintenance of ... the other spouse." The Court observed that this provision modified the common law doctrine of necessaries, which had imposed primary personal liability on a husband for necessaries for the support of the family, by imposing personal liability on both spouses. St. Mary's, 186 Wis. 2d at 108-09. The Court concluded in St. Mary's Hospital that a spouse's necessary medical treatment comes within the doctrine of necessaries and, therefore, payment for those bills is an obligation imposed equally upon both spouses. Id. at 109.