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Child support payments
One of the main bones of contention in a divorce is the matter of child support payments.

Jewish couples are subject to personal law, which traces its origins to Jewish law. According to the law, the man must support his children until they reach the age of 18.

Such child support payments are divided into essential child support necessary for sustaining the child, and support payments under ‘Din Tzedaka’

Essential child support
When talking about essential child support, we refer to a child’s basic needs including clothing, food, education, money כלכלה, medical needs, housing payments, and mother’s child care compensation.

These are the needs the father must supply and they are not determined according to his financial ability or situation (disabled, unemployed and so forth). He must pay for them in full, without subtracting from the set amount. The reason for this is that support payment is meant to cover the child’s most basic needs.

Nowadays, all family courts regularly decide on awarding essential child support payments for each minor, without the need for special proof, in an amount ranging between approximately NIS 1,250 and NIS 1,350 per month. This amount does not include housing payment, kindergarten, education, and exceptional expenses and/or expenses under ‘Din Tzedaka’

This ‘minimum amount’ has stood the test of dozens of cases each day in Israeli family courts and serves as a tool and yardstick for setting child support payments for minors.

Child support under Din Tzedaka
Child support payments under Din Tzedaka are given for needs not classified as ‘essential’ and are divided equally between the father and mother.

It is important to understand that the mother’s participation in child support under Din Tzedaka applies to children aged 15 and up. Even then, her financial wealth is checked firstly; and only if she succeeds in providing for her own needs and meets the definition of financial wealth, does she participate in such child support.

Child support can be divided into four categories

  • Children up to the age of 6 – the father is obliged to totally provide for their sustenance.
  • Children from ages 6–15 – the father is obliged to pay essential child support including food and clothing, irrespective of his financial ability. Additionally, he is obliged to pay essential support under Din Tzedaka. Despite the fact that the parents are supposed to pay equal portions, if the woman cannot afford it, she is exempted from such payment.
  • Children from ages 15–18 – will receive essential support under Din Tzedaka, according to the income of the parents.
  • Children serving compulsory military service – receive one-third of support payments up to now.

The changing trend in Israel
These situations, in which the father is obliged to pay child support while the mother does not participate in child support, except for a child aged 15 and up, and even then, only after her financial wealth has been examined—do not suit Israel’s changing reality. We are witnessing more and more women pursing careers, ever-increasing equality between the sexes, and fathers increasingly desiring custody of the children and/or being with the children for equal or a longer time.

This is a reality in which there is no clear determination of how much the father will need to pay in child support. As a family lawyer I must say that I come across the question of “How much do I need to pay” every day! It’s a question that today has no unequivocal answer.

Nowadays there is no official formula for calculating child support
The exact amount of child support is a function of the changing circumstances of each case. Often it is a function of who the presiding judge is, in which case I am not able to state clearly and with absolute certainty the amount the judge will determine for the father sitting opposite me.

In the spirit of the above changes, the Shipman Commission was established in 2006.

The Shipman Commission recommends a revolutionary change in the manner of determining child support in Israel – The Commission’s main recommendation is for the formula to take into consideration:

  • The parents’ income.
  • Parenting days (the days in which the children stay with each of their parents).
  • Regular and variable expenses.
  • The need to bring about a substantial change in the manner of determining child support.

It should be mentioned that along with this Commission, which deals with equality in rulings of child support, another commission was formed in 2005 and headed by Prof. Dan Schnitt, to examine various issues pertaining to parental responsibility in divorces as well as the issue of custody. There is a certain overlap in the agenda of these commissions, since both were established due to changes we are witnessing in Israeli society, i.e., increasing equality between the sexes, more fathers having/desiring custody of the children and more mothers pursuing careers.

Returning to the Shipman Commission:

As mentioned, the Commission recommends defining a permanent formula for calculating child support payments that would reduce the court’s discretion and make it easier for the sides to plan for future developments in the divorce proceedings.

Thus the formula will include the parents’ income, the needs of the children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the minors. Through a simple mathematical formula the court can rule on predefined and regular child support payments applicable to each of the parents.

The family court registrar

An additional proposal included in the Commission’s report is for the family court registrar to rule on child support payments; any appeal on its decision will be submitted to the family court. This is an attempt to change the current situation in which child support payments ruling issue from family court and appeals are submitted to district court.

The district court, as a ‘general’ and appellate court, is not inclined to intervene in the decisions of a family court. Thus, appeals over the child support amount are frequently rejected.

Contact the firm of attorney and notary public Avivit Moskovich today. She specializes in legal representation and accompaniment, including cases that call for delicacy and support.
For advice in child support matters, contact us soon.

You may contact us at: 03-6133995 or 052-3986655

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