Chief Rabbi: No need to change child support laws

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yosef claims rabbinical courts rule fairly on child support, no need to change laws.

Haim Lev,

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Eliran Aharon

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef on Wednesday criticized the proposal to amend child support so that divorced parents split the cost of raising children in a fair manner.

Speaking at a conference for lawyers and rabbinical legal representatives on the subjects of divorce and get refusal, Rabbi Yosef, such a law is "completely unnecessary."

A get is a Jewish writ of divorce. In Jewish law. Only the husband can grant a divorce, but there are measures taken by the rabbinic courts, including imprisonment, to convince him to do so. If his spouse does not agree to accept the writ of divorce, however, he may not remarry.

In his speech, Rabbi Yosef explained extensively how rabbinical courts make their decisions, and said the rabbinical judges are obligated to rule according to halakha (Jewish law) and tradition. Since courts rule very reasonably on child support, he said, the new law is unnecessary.

"On the one hand, they do not order a father who has nothing to pay large amounts in child support, especially if the mother is earning more," Rabbi Yosef said. "On the other hand, they don't exempt the father from his obligation to support his children. Each case is considered separately, and both the mother's and father's financial situations are taken into account."

Rabbi Yosef also said that the proposed law is "illegitimate" since it intends to harm the rabbinical courts' authority by not allowing the court to rule on child support. In his opinion, courts should be allowed to rule on the issue of child support, just as they have done since the State's founding.

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