Divorcing Spouse In Nursing Home

Divorcing Spouse In Nursing Home- Keeping Vows or Preserving Care

When wedding, we say the vows to keep them.

But what happens when the downs of life lead your partner to a nursing home? The decision to divorce comes after the burden of caregiving, financial strains, and emotional turmoil becomes overwhelming.

In this article, we will explore divorcing a spouse in a nursing home, and discover potential consequences and alternatives. 

Divorcing Spouse In Nursing Home (Read this first)

Divorcing a spouse in a nursing home because of the financial burden that may fall on the healthy spouse is no longer worth it. This is especially so for couples whose assets do not value $500,000.

However, there are circumstances where divorcing a spouse in a nursing home could be beneficial for the community spouse. In addition, it is deemed necessary for couples who want to protect their inheritance.

Medicaid Divorce

A Medicaid divorce involves divorcing a spouse who needs nursing home care or expects to need it shortly, to meet the income and asset eligibility criteria for Medicaid.

Medicaid provides much-needed financial support for low-income individuals who require long-term nursing home care. Medicaid applies strict income and assets rules for those who apply. In this regard, couples often exceed the asset and income limits required by Medicaid.

Often, the applicant is required to spend down their assets to qualify for Medicaid, which is why some couples result to divorce for the healthier spouse to keep some of the assets.

This strategy may have some legal and financial implications and is sometimes not necessary for some couples. For instance, the spousal impoverishment provisions allow the good spouse to keep more of the assets during Medicaid application.  As a result, Medicaid divorce is not common today as it was in the past.

If you are considering a Medicaid divorce, consider consulting an expert in elder law to assist you with any inquiries and provide expert opinions.

Considerations to Make Before Divorcing Spouse In a Nursing Home

Financial Implications

While your intentions could be to just divorce your spouse on paper, it does not eliminate the legal and financial consequences that come after divorce. It is essential to seek expert financial opinion first.

Social Impact

Divorce is a life-changing decision that comes with emotional and social impacts. Before making a decision, it is essential to consider the emotional and social toll it would have on you and your spouse.

Also, make sure you have a stable support system to help you go through the social dynamics of divorce.

The Health of The Ailed Partner

The unwell partner might not understand why you want to get a divorce. For example, if the ailing spouse has dementia, they might not get the reason for divorce and this could result in further health deterioration.

It is wise to consider their health, and even consult with their healthcare provider to understand the possible consequences of divorce on their health.

Explore Alternatives

Divorce could be an extreme course of action and it is good to consider other alternatives that might help with your situation before settling on divorce. This is where consulting with elder law experts comes in.

Also, consider consulting with financial experts to identify better ways of going through the financial obligations of nursing home care.

Care Planning

Divorce can revoke some of the rights you may have concerning making decisions about your spouse’s health. Therefore, you must make solid plans about care for your spouse when considering a divorce.


If your spouse can comprehend and make decisions, it is essential that you consider them and communicated about your plan to divorce them. If your divorce is just a means to protect assets, let them understand the intentions for the divorce. In this regard, their consent is important.

Reasons You Don’t Need to Divorce Spouse  In a Nursing Home

Unless your decision to divorce your spouse in a nursing home is personal and not just a financial plan, here’s why you should consider remaining married:


you can still protect your finances without having to divorce your nursing home spouse. This is ensured through the law that protects the healthier spouse to keep a larger share of assets.

Emotional Support

There is a need for emotional support and companionship even when your spouse is in a nursing home. Remaining married is not just a means to keeping your vows but also an essential way to keep your spouse emotionally supported.

Right to Make Decisions

When you remain married, you can make decisions over the health and care of your partner and act in their interests.


Can I divorce a dementia spouse?

When divorcing a spouse with dementia, you file for irreconcilable divorce and it could take longer.

Can you live with a partner after divorce?

It is possible to live with someone after divorcing them if the circumstances oblige you to do so.

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