Jul 13

94-Year-Old Must Pay Alimony to Offset Ex-Spouse’s Nursing Home Costs


Nebraska’s highest court determines that a 94-year-old husband must pay alimony to his 95-year-old ex-wife in order to help offset her nursing home costs, even if doing so puts his income below the poverty level. Binder v. Binder (Neb., No. S-14-783, June 26, 2015).

Laura and Glen Binder married in 1982. It was a second marriage for both of them and they had no children together. Mr. Binder owned farmland and operated a fertilizer business. Ms. Binder did not work outside the home. In 2012, Ms. Binder moved into a nursing home. Her income did not cover the cost of care, so Mr. Binder contributed the remaining amount.

Mr. Binder filed for divorce from Ms. Binder when he was 94 years old and she was 95 years old. The court dissolved the marriage and awarded Ms. Binder alimony in order to offset her nursing home costs. Mr. Binder appealed, arguing that the amount of alimony was presumptively an abuse of discretion because it drove his income below the poverty level in violation of state child support guidelines.

The Nebraska Supreme Court affirms, holding that the state child support law does not apply because the Binders do not have any minor children. The court concludes that the alimony award is not unreasonable because Mr. Binder has the power to dispose of farmland.