My boyfriend is a married man whose wife ran off abroad with her lover many years ago. She has remained overseas, refuses to divorce and now lives underground. My boyfriend is in the process of getting permission from the Rabbinical court to marry a second wife, and has proposed marriage to me. I am concerned that if I accept, I won’t have the same financial status and rights as a normal wife, because of his first wife. Are my fears founded ?By: דיאנה שאלתיאל•Published on: 12 May, 2022
If the Rabbinical Court grants your boyfriend permission to take another wife, and you do indeed get married, then you need not worry about his first wife’s financial rights during your husband’s lifetime. From the moment she ran off their financial partnership ended, and she has no rights in property accrued by him from that point on. She only has property rights arising from the marriage up until the point she fled. Thus once you marry, his first wife will have no rights in anything that is accrued during your marriage. She will, however, like you , as his wife, have rights in his estate by virtue of her status , if he dies without making a will specifically excluding her. If he dies intestate, any rights due to his wife will be split between the two of you.