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The Jewish Legal System

Marriage Laws

Monetary Obligations of a Husband

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

1 Follow-up »

  1. We say that the man is obligated to support the wife and family. What if he is not keeping his obligation (i.e. he is barely trying to make a living and the family is desperate, etc.)?

    Thank you for your question. There is very little recourse for the family in such a situation. If he owns a house or property, they can go to a Beis Din and the Beis Din would permit the sale of assets for their support.
    obligation.

    Take care,

    Rabbi Aaron Tendler

    Comment by ATR — July 2, 2008 @ 10:21 am

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