MKs propose egalitarian child support bill

MKs Kisch and Shasha-Biton propose revolutionary bill that will have some women paying child support to men.

Gil Ronen ,

MK Shasha-Biton
MK Shasha-Biton
Flash 90

MKs Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu) submitted a bill to the Knesset Monday that would set clear and egalitarian guidelines for calculating child support after divorce.

The amounts paid would depend on how much each parent was making, and on how many days per week the child would be spending with each one. 

The bill is taken verbatim from the recommendations of the government-appointed experts' committee that was headed by Prof. Pinhas Shifman, which creates a precise tool for calculating how much child support one parent will pay the other, based on their earnings and on how many days per week the child spends with each. The committee deliberated for six years, starting in 2006, before making its recommendations.

Unlike the present law, the law is gender blind and in some cases, it would have women paying child support to men.

The current law governing child support is based on halakha (Jewish law), in which men are the exclusive payers of child support. However, while Jewish law also gives men an advantage over women in division of assets and in other spheres like inheritance, Israeli law does not. Thus, the men have to endure the disadvantages specified under halakha, but enjoy none of the advantages.

Child support rates in Israel are considered by experts to be among the highest in the world, and fathers are often forced to pay most of their earnings, leaving them little or nothing to subsist upon themselves.

"From words to deeds"

"It is time to go from words to deeds," MK Kisch stated. "The Shifman Committee examined, over a period of years, all of the different aspects relating to child support, but its conclusions have not yet been implemented. We will take action to implement the committee's conclusions in legislation, for the good of the children, and for gender equality."

MK Shasha-Biton added: "The proposal would change the system for calculating child support in a way that places the child's financial well-being at the center, while minimizing the damage to the financial well-being of the mother and father, but mostly – it takes the child out of the equation of the fight between the mother and father during divorce.

At the start of the current Knesset term, Kisch also co-signed legislation named "Children and their Parents," which would have robbed parents – including married ones – of their status as legal custodians of their children while greatly empowering social workers to enforce a long list of "children's rights."

That bill was misleadingly presented as centering upon the cancellation of the Tender Years Clause, which gives divorcing mothers automatic custody of children up to age six. Kisch appears to have realized that the legislation – which he did not author – was not good, and is in the process of proposing a bill for cancelling the Tender Years Clause without empowering social workers or disempowering parents.