Question: My husband and I both work, and we have been having some “discussions” regarding the level to which my husband must contribute to household expenses. (Don’t worry, we’re getting marriage counseling.) What are my rights according to Jewish law? Can he opt out of supporting me just because I have a job?
Answer: Thank you for your question. This issue is discussed in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 69:4). A husband must provide for his wife’s and family’s needs, and, in return for doing this, he is entitled to keep her salary. However, a woman can opt out and say, “I prefer my salary and will provide my own needs.” Yet, although the husband cannot say, “You keep your salary and I won’t support you,” he can tell her, “Use your salary towards your expenses, and, if it isn’t enough, I will provide you with whatever extra is necessary.”
Rabbi Aaron Tendler