Solvent father may not ask wife to spend on their children
Fatwa No: 347245

  • Fatwa Date:9-3-2017 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 11, 1438
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Question

I divorced my wife, but it was her fault. She refuses to leave her job for the sake of the children and the house. Though she never worked until I asked her to help, it was needed at that time. When I no longer needed her to work, however, she refused and does not want to help at all. We agreed to divorce and have made a settlement agreement that I would get custody of the children and will not seek child support. This condition is not bound by state law, however, and I made this clear to her before before she signed the agreement. This means that I could seek child support anytime when I need it. Also, she asked for an amount of settlement money that is five times more than what we agreed on in the marriage agreement. I had to forcefully accept it instead of fighting in court. She has a job and makes money. Can I seek child support from her? Is it haram? If so, can you please provide me with evidence that negates this issue and shows that it is clearly haram. I have researched it and could not find anything to negate that I can seek child support from my ex-wife. I understand that the husband is obliged to provide for his family, which I am doing, praise be to Allaah. But in this case, she received a lot more money from me, and she works. She lives in a separate house.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Providing for young children is an obligation on their solvent father, and no one else is obliged to provide for them. Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, “If the child has a father who is able to provide for him, then it is not obligatory on anyone other than the father to provide for the child.” [Al-Mughni 9/258]

Hence, you alone are obliged to provide for your children as long as you are able to spend on them. Your wife is not obliged to provide for the children even if she is rich and has a source of income. Please refer to fatwa 163965. As long as she is not obliged to provide for them, you have no right to oblige her to spend on them by the power of the state laws.

Also, the fact that she received a big sum for settlement at the time of divorce does not permit you to oblige her to do what she is not obliged to do. You willingly paid her the settlement money. The evidence that negates this issue is that she is not obliged to spend on the children according to the Shariah. So it is prohibited for you to take any of her money without her consent. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “The wealth of a Muslim is not lawful (for anyone else) unless he gave it willingly.” [Al-Bayhaqi]

Allah knows best.

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