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Case demonstrates how age is just a number when it comes to alimony

While we tend to think of divorce as being the exclusive domain of younger people who may have decided to tie the knot too soon or middle age people who are no longer happy being married, this is perhaps too narrow of a view.

The reality is that people from all walks of life commonly pursue divorce for reasons that are wholly unique. In fact, it's important to appreciate that divorce can occur among people of all ages, even the elderly, as evidenced by a fascinating case out of Nebraska involving a 95-year-old husband who was ordered to pay alimony to his 96-year-old former wife.

According to the facts of the case, the husband, a retired fertilizer dealer and farmer, owned 200 acres of land prior to marrying his now-ex wife back in 1982. Before the marriage, however, the couple, both of whom had children from previous marriages, signed an agreement indicating that their premarital assets would remain separate property.

While the wife did not hold a job at any point, it was established that she did help her husband with both the fertilizer business and the farm over the course of their 32-year marriage.

The husband ultimately filed for divorce in 2014, arguing that his marriage was irretrievable broken.

As part of the final divorce decree, the presiding judge ordered the husband, who is currently living in a mobile home, to pay his wife, who is currently living in a nursing home with few assets, $3,200 per month in alimony.

The husband ultimately appealed this decision to the Nebraska Supreme Court, arguing that the amount of the monthly alimony payment was excessive given that it was larger than his monthly income, which consists only of Social Security payments and money from renting out his property.

The high court, however, affirmed the decision of the trial court judge, finding it appropriate in light of the fact that he owns over 200 acres of land with a taxable value of more than $500,000. Indeed, the court expressly refuted the notion that it was somehow prohibited from considering the value of the land because of the agreement the two spouses had previously signed.  

"The land is not irrelevant to alimony even though it is Glenn's premarital property," reads the opinion. "A court may consider all of the property owned by the parties -- marital and separate -- in decreeing alimony."

For his part, the husband's attorney was less than pleased with the decision, and indicated that his client will now have to sell his land or borrow against it in order to comply with the alimony order.

This is truly an interesting case and serves to highlight how divorce -- at any age -- can sometimes prove to be a very complex process.

If you have questions or concerns relating to alimony, child support, property division or other financial matters relating to divorce, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.

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