My wife and I have been quarrelling for years. She has not worked outside the home, devoting herself to raising the children and looking after the house. I became unemployed when the textile company where I worked for many years made cutbacks . My wife keeps complaining that I don’t bring home money to support her anymore. She has threatened to file me for maintenance. Is it possible that a court could order me to pay maintenance if I am out of work ? We are both Jewish.By: דיאנה שאלתיאל•Published on: 16 May, 2022
According to Jewish law and to Israeli civil law – The Family Law Amendment (Maintenance) Act of 1959 – a husband has to pay his wife maintenance according to his personal/religious law, where applicable. When a maintenance plea is filed against a husband and the court will examine two parameters – (a) his actual earnings from his salary and (b) his earning potential.
Where the husband is temporarily out of work the court can still set maintenance according to his future earning potential.
An additional basis for his maintenance obligation in Jewish Law is the concept that a man’s wife ‘ ascends with him and does not descend.’ This means that if a wife has become accustomed to a certain standard of living and then her husband’s income drops she is not expected to suffer, and she is entitled to receive maintenance according to the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed.