My sister hardly gets any money from her husband for housekeeping and any extras like clothing . She refuses to go to the rabbinical court and file for divorce. Although she has never asked me for money I’ve helped , ‘lending’ her several thousand shekels on a number of occasions, because I cannot bear to see her suffer. Do I have a right to get this money back from my brother-in-law who should be supporting her ?By: דיאנה שאלתיאל•Published on: 16 May, 2022
If a husband refuses to provide for his wife financially and a relative or someone else volunteers to support her without being asked, then that person has no legal grounds for legal action against either one of them. The fact that a husband has a duty under Jewish law to provide his wife with maintenance during their marriage does not confer upon someone who voluntarily supports her ( when he does not )a legal right to claim the money back from him. Furthermore, if the wife did not ask the person who gave her money to do so, then he is not legally entitled to getting it back from her. Using the same argument, he has no legal right to sue the husband for it if he or his wife did not request a loan.
However, if , for example, the husband leaves the home without providing his wife with any means of support, and she is forced to get a loan in lieu of maintenance which her husband has a duty to provide, then the situation may be different. The husband continues to have a legal obligation to support his wife and his maintenance debt grows all the time. Now, the person providing the loan, for example a relative or friend, probably has no legal right to claim the money loaned back directly from the husband. He/she would need to sue the wife for repayment of the loan and she in turn would be entitled to counter sue her husband for the loan taken out instead of the maintenance he should provide her with. In exceptional circumstances, and where the wife has no way of paying and cannot be located, the person providing the loan would be entitled to sue the husband directly.