Lynn Brenner’s column provided an opportunity to clarify an issue for those couples who have separated but never finalized a divorce.
Spouses are legally obligated to each other for the basic necessities. As far as the law and Medicaid are concerned, you are married or you are divorced. There is no middle ground. In his comments on a reader’s question, Mr. Silverberg explains the federal law and the legal process that allows a spouse to refuse to pay for their spouse’s care in a nursing home. Known as the “right of spousal refusal,” Federal law has a process in place to let one spouse refuse to pay for the other spouse’s care. However, with no divorce, assets owned by both people are a single marital pool when determining eligibility. Depending on the individual circumstances, it may be better to complete this unfinished business and finalize the divorce.