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Jan 27, 2013

Civil judge uses halacha to obligate avreich to work to pay his share of child support

Every now and then an unfortunate case comes before the courts where a couple is getting divorced, and the husband cannot afford to pay his alimony or child support, and he uses his low kollel stipend as the excuse for trying to justify not paying.

I remember a case that was written about a couple years ago in which the judge refused to allow the kollel stipend to be an excuse and said the young man must go to look for work to be able to cover his debts. Now, a new case has come before the courts, with a similar claim being made.

Judge Anat Alfasi, in the family court in Ashdod, was presiding over a case in which the husband/father was trying to get out of paying alimony and child support using his meager kollel stipend (1500 NIS) as an excuse. Judge Alfasi ruled that the kollel stipend is not an excuse, and the fellow must go find work in order to pay his child support, and that his meager stipend is not a good enough excuse to justify lowering his payments.

Alfasi said that the fellow must go out to work, in order to support his family, and he will surely make time to learn Torah  as many other good people do. As a young and healthy person, he could easily earn at least minimum wage (currently 4300 NIS per month).

Furthermore, the judge quoted from the Beis Din HaGadol saying that "an avreich is not exempt from the obligations to his wife and children. We never heard that an avreich signs a different kesuba that the kind that everyone else signs. His obligation to support his wife is in the kesuba, as is his obligation to his children, especially children under 6 years of age.  
While righteous women have  taken it upon themselves to take the burden of supporting the family on themselves, in order to allow their husbands to learn Torah, that is voluntary. Even if a woman were to marry accepting a condition that  the husband would not support the family, the condition would not take effect halachically, as she does not have the right to forego his obligation to support his little children."

Judge Alfasi then obligated the fellow to pay 2750 NIS per month as his part in the expenses of raising the little boy.
(source: INN)

While the case and decision is obviously not revolutionary, as it has happened before, probably many time, I do find it interesting that she quoted from the rabbinical courts about who is obligated to work and support.

She was clearly arguing a "l'shitascha" argument - according to you that the halacha is more important than civil law, even by halacha you are obligated to pay - because otherwise how could she justify the sexist position that he must support her and her working is only voluntary. In today's world, we strive for equality, without gender discrimination? I don't see how the judge could justify making such a statement and using it in her court decision, that he is obligated to work and support and she is just voluntarily working.






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1 comment:

  1. Even if you try to make the argument based on what she was doing while married three months ago, it isn't accurate - the demands on her as a single mother are increased over her as a working kollel wife.

    Besides, she was only working to help him as part of an understanding while they're married. Now they aren't.

    ReplyDelete

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