New York — He's a 59-year-old luxury car salesman in Melville who won divorce from his wife of 38 years in May 2007.
She's the same age, a high school graduate with few skills whose health problems prevent her from working.
And because people are living longer, into their 80s and 90s, he shouldn't be expected to pay lifetime support to his ex-wife, according to a ruling by State Supreme Court Justice Anthony J. Falanga of Nassau County.
Courts must begin to recognize that requiring lifetime support payments "may require a payor spouse in his or her 90s and older to continue to support a dependent spouse in his or her 90s or older," Falanga wrote in a decision last month.
His 16-page ruling awards the wife in the case 10 years of support payments of $3,000 a month. Neither spouse was named in the decision.
A court opinion that acknowledges people are living longer without earned income will get noticed in the legal community, said Mitchell A. Greebel, the husband's attorney. "I think he's certainly opening up the door to view this decision in a much broader application," Greebel said.