DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) _ A judge on Thursday barred a nursing home from evicting an 85-year-old, wheelchair-bound resident who is behind in her payments., the woman's guardian said.

''We've got sort of a stay of execution,'' said Diane Melbye, an attorney and guardian for Martha Saif, a once-wealthy businesswoman who is now virtually penniless.

Southwest District Judge Maurice Hunke issued an injunction, effective until May 11, in part because the nursing home failed to follow proper eviction proceedings, Ms. Melbye said.

The Dickinson Nursing Center wants Mrs. Saif removed because she is $30,000 behind in her payments. The nursing home's lawyer said Thursday that he would seek a court order to force Ms. Melbye to remove the woman.

The court's decision to stop the eviction and order a May 11 hearing buys more time for finding ways to keep Mrs. Saif in the nursing home, Ms. Melbye said.

Mrs. Saif has been declared ineligible for medical assistance because she gave away her assets. The decision denying the benefits has been appealed, and a decision could be reached by Tuesday, Ms. Melbye said.

Both the nursing home and Ms. Melbye are suing James Rassmussen of Dickinson, claiming he bilked Mrs. Saif out of her assets.

Mrs. Saif once had holdings worth more than $1 million, including a furniture store, several homes and an extensive antique collection, according to family members.

Nursing Home Administrator Lee Stickland said Thursday that he had asked that Mrs. Saif ''be escorted from the facility today.''

But Stickland said that if Mrs. Saif's guardian refused to take her, ''I will not put her on the street.''

It costs about $2,000 a month to keep Mrs. Saif in the nursing home, Ms. Melbye said. The elderly woman gets $402 a month from Social Security, $355 of which goes to the home.