Divorced men will no longer be expected to shoulder all of the burden of child support payments in Israel. A landmark ruling from Israel’s Supreme Court was handed down by seven justices and was a response to complaints from fathers whose ex-wives had a higher income than theirs, yet still demanded full child support.
The new ruling applies to children between the ages of 6 and 15 with fathers still required to pay full child support for children under the age of 6.
Until this decision was handed down, fathers were expected to bear primary responsibility for child support regardless of what they or their ex-wives earned. The ruling was meant to remedy a scenario in which the father’s finances would deteriorate as a result of being forced to pay child support even though he was expected to provide for the children’s primary needs–such as food and housing—during visitation and in joint custody situations.
The financial gap between the condition of the father paying full child support and that of the mother who receives it even though she earns a solid income may be detrimental to the children and may make it more difficult to convince them to comply with visitation agreements, especially if they feel deprived in one parent’s home compared to the other’s.
Judge Menachem Mazuz called joint custody a “proper and natural solution,” but admitted that it comes with a high price tag many divorced parents cannot afford. He urged that significant consideration be given as to whether maintaining two separate homes financially was feasible for parents, particularly during separation and at the beginning phase of the divorce.
According to the new ruling, the amount each parent would contribute to the support of the children would be determined by ability to pay, salary, expenses and other factors on a case by case basis.