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Cohabitation and Children

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I am a widower with children. I am considering allowing my girlfriend to live with us (without marrying),but am concerned about protecting my children’s financial rights. They come first for me. Can I do this, and how ?

Cohabitation Cohabitation and Children

In this situation it is advisable for you ,as a widower, to have an agreement drawn up between you and your  girlfriend which settles your mutual financial obligations and rights regarding existing property and that which you may acquire while living together in the future. Thus, what is currently owed by you  can be protected. Additionally, it is advisable for you to make a will, so that you can make provision to leave what you own to your  children, or to make provision for both them and your girlfriend, as you wish.

Making an agreement and a will is likely to prevent problems later on should your  girlfriend become a common-law wife and the relationship end by you splitting up as a couple, or by you dying.

Does the law discriminate against children whose parents are not married as regards inheritance ?

Cohabitation Cohabitation and Children

No, as regards the Inheritance Law of 1965 there is no difference between the rights of children whose parents are married and those of children whose parents are not married.

I am Jewish and for several years have been living with a man who is registered as having no religion. We have two children. Recently, he has stopped giving me money for them. Do they have the right to financial support from him if we are not married ?

Cohabitation Cohabitation and Children

Minor children whose parents are not married have the right to be supported according to the personal law relating to their particular religion of their parents. When one of the parents does not have a personal law – as is the case with your cohabitee  – then civil law applies, the Family Law Amendment (Maintenance) Act of 1959. Under this legislation the burden of financial support for a child falls on both parents, not solely on the father, according to their relative incomes, from birth until the age of 18 . If the mother does not work but the father does, then the maintenance burden will fall on him but if the mother works her salary will be taken into account.

If two Jews have a child without getting married who has to support the child financially ?

Cohabitation Cohabitation and Children

If both parents are Jewish even though they are not married the financial burden of supporting their minor children falls solely on the father until they reach the age of 15. From the ages of 15-18 it is shared between both parents, depending on their relative incomes. This obligation derives from the obligation under Jewish law which is incorporated into civil legislation , The Family Law Amendment (Maintenance) Act of 1959.

My boyfriend and I live together but have not got married. We are secular Jews. He is against marriage as an institution. I want to be a mother. My family keep nagging us to get married, saying that if we don’t our child will be a “bastard” according to Jewish law. Is this correct ?

Cohabitation Cohabitation and Children

No ! Where a Jewish couple have the legal capacity to marry according to Jewish law , but choose not to, their children are legitimate Jews and have the same status of children of Jews married in a traditional religious ceremony. What distinguishes children born to unmarried Jewish parents from bastards or “mamzerim” ,in Hebrew, is the legal capacity of their parents to marry. The parents of “mamzerim” lack the legal capacity to marry under Jewish law which forbids their union. “Mamzerim” have inferior status under Jewish law and can only marry other “Mamzerim”.

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