Difficulty in divorce proceedings with wife
Fatwa No: 84106

Question

I have been married for almost 2 years. I have been sponsoring my family to the extent (I mean spending all my money without saving any money). My wife also works, and she always said she is not responsible about supporting and sharing any money; her money is her money and my money is our money. When I got laid off from my job, she helped a little bit by paying the rent of the house, and now I am finding out that my wife is spending over 3000 dollars every month doing shopping and still telling me she's not responsible about any bills. Now I am about to divorce her for not just that for so many other things such as she does not obey me and not listen.........and so on, especially her family always-bad influence. Anyways, now I was out of town when I told her to leave to her parents' house, she took half of everything from the house and most the valuables; she said for all the money that she helped me with when I lost my job. So Please tell what do you think about what she did in details, and tell me if I have to pay the Mulah of the divorce since she took half of the house while I am not there. Thank you so much.

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

We advise you to keep your ties with your wife and do not divorce her if she is religious and keeps high moral standards. Disobeying a husband is forbidden and a major sin, even though there are many lawful solutions other than divorce. Allah lays down some guidelines and steps to deal with a disobedient wife. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {…As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allâh is Ever Most High, Most Great.} [4:34].
The divorce is a final solution; one should not seek it except when all other doors are blocked.
Know, dear brother, a wife should never be held responsible for expenses. Only a husband is responsible for all monetary expenses such as food, clothes and other necessities. In spite of this the support of a wife to her husband in bearing monetary responsibilities would be a strong reason to maintain good relationship between them and to have a happy marital life. Thus, this is advisable and likable act in Shari'a.
Based on the above details it becomes clear that if a wife supports a husband and considers it a debt, then he should give it back to her whenever she demands it, since it is debt and she has the right to demand it at anytime.
On the other hand, the husband is obliged to repay her except if he is bankrupt. In such a case she should wait till he becomes able to repay her debt.
However, if she helped him only as a contribution to him then she cannot take anything.
Whatever the case may be, taking holdings of husband without his knowledge on the plea of that she helped him is considered aggression on the other's property which is not permissible so, she should give it back to him. At the same time the husband is obliged to give her back all that she supported him with as a debt upon him.
Allah knows best.

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