Child Support According to the Civil Law
Child support (hereby: “alimony”) is the obligation of the parents towards their minor children, and sometimes even their adult children (as will be explained further on). The Family Law Amendment (Alimony), 1959 (hereby: “the law”), regulates the various issues relating to alimony. This article will outline the sections of the law and will primarily discuss “civilian child support.”
The Law that Applies to Child Support
The parent is obligated to provide child support to minor children according to the religious law that applies to it, meaning, according to the religion to which he belongs. If religious law enforces the obligation of alimony on the parent, the provisions law shall not apply to him:
A person is obligated to provide child support for his minor children and for the minor children of his spouse according to the provisions of the law that apply to him personally, and the provisions of this law will not apply to those alimonies (Section 3(A) of the law).
When Will the Provisions of the Law Concerning Child Support Apply?
There are instances where the provisions of the law concerning alimony applies, as listed below:
- If the religious law does not impose the obligation of alimony upon the parent.
- When the parent does not belong to one of the recognized communities in Israel (and he is considered as “not belonging to any religion”.
We can see that Israeli legislature wants to make sure that the parent will be bound to pay alimony for his minor children, therefore it decreed provisions for alimony even in instances where the religious law makes the parent exempt or where he is considered as not belonging to any religion:
A person who is not obligated to pay alimony for his minor children and the minor children of his spouse according to the provisions of the law that apply to him personally, or no law applies to him personally, must pay their alimony, and the provisions of this law will apply to those alimonies (Section 3(B) of the law).
Which are the Recognized Religious Communities in Israel?
Below is a list of the recognized religious communities in the State of Israel:
- The Jewish community
- The Muslim community
- The Eastern Orthodox community
- The Roman Catholic community
- The Gregorian community (Armenian)
- The Armenian Catholic community
- The Syrian Catholic community
- The Chaldean community (Uniate/Armenian)
- The Greek Melkite Catholic community
- The Maronite community
- The Syrian Orthodox community
A person belonging to any other community is defined in Israel as “not belonging to any religion” and the provisions of the law concerning alimony apply to him.
The Provisions of the Law Concerning Alimony of Minor Children
The law states that the father and mother of a child must pay alimony for their minor child:
The father and mother of a minor must pay his child support (Section 3A(A) of the law)
The law also determines the ration of payment that each parent will pay considering the sources of income that he or she possesses:
- “Regardless of the fact which parent holds the minor the alimony laws apply in a proportional rate to the income, wherever its source may be” (Section 3A(B) of the law).
- “The extent of the alimony, the limit and amount to satisfaction, will be determined without an agreement between the two parties by the court, with consideration to the circumstances” (Section 6 of the law).
An Agreement Between the Parents Concerning Child Support
Even an agreement made between the parents concerning alimony does not bind the child until that same agreement is approved by the court. The court will make sure that child’s best interest is at the center of the parents’ agreement:
An agreement about alimony of a minor or a waiver of alimony does not bind the minor as long as it has not been approved by the court (Section 12(A) of the law).
After the agreement is approved by the court, it will be valid based on the verdict, but it will be able to be opened in the future, should there be a change in circumstances:
The court is permitted to change that which was established in the agreement, waiver, or verdict, if it sees fit to do so on the basis of circumstances that become known to the applicant or that changed after the agreement, waiver, or verdict (Section 13(A) of the law).
The Independent Claim Institution
A minor can file a claim (together with his guardian) in regards to his alimony, even after the agreement has been made between his parents that was approved by the court.
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Anonymous v. The Great Rabbinical Court, it was decided that in an independent claim from the minor a “substantive examination” would apply in order to reopen the matter of alimony. This is an accumulative two-stage examination that is detailed below:
- Has the court that approved the agreement, including the alimony, held a substantive discussion on the matter of alimony?
The starting point is that the court must deliberate about the approval of the agreement, examine whether or not the minor’s needs can be met, and it does not approve an agreement that would not benefit the minor.
- If the minor is indeed being deprived of the amount of alimony that he was granted, the court will examine the age of the minor, his needs, and the income of the parents, and as long as the minor is not found to be deprived, the issue of alimony will not be opened.
In the case when there is a fundamental deprivation of the alimony granted to the minor, the court will reexamine the matter of alimony in both the independent claim as well as the regular claim route.
Does the Law Obligate the Parents to Pay Alimony for Adult Children?
Section 4(2) of the law obligates the parent to pay alimony for his adult child:
A person must pay alimony for the rest of his family members, and they are—
(2) His older children and their spouses
Section 5 of the law states that this obligation is only actualized when these three conditions listed below are present:
- “He has the ability to do so after meeting his own needs, the needs of his spouse, and the needs of his minor children and his spouse’s minor children.”
- “The same family member, in spite of his efforts, is unable to meet his own needs by his work, assets, or any other source.”
- “The same family member is unable to receive alimony according to Section 2 (Spousal Support), or according to Section 3 (Child Support), or from inheritance, and he is unable to receive them from the previous family member of that same person according to the order laid out in Section 4.”
Interested in Settling Child Support? The Offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh are at Your Service
At the law offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh you will encounter lawyers who are experts in family law and who are authorized mediators. Our lawyers will help you settle the matter of child support through various agreements (divorce / joint life / joint parenting), so that the best interest of your children will be safeguarded both now and in the future.