Increasing Child Support
According to the law and common law in Israel, a father is obliged to pay for the support of his minor children until they come of age or enlist to the army, whichever is the later.
The amount of the child support can be determined by signing a divorce settlement which was approved in court or by a court ruling done in the Family Court or the Rabbinical Court.
Having said that, there are times when the need arises to file a claim to increase the amount paid due to changes in the custodial parent’s life.
The minors right to claim their support (via their mother, obviously) derives from the fact that, according to the law and ruling, the minors are not subject to the agreements between their parents regarding their support.
For example, article 13 (a) of the Family Law Amendment (Alimony) 5719-1959 states that the court is entitled to change what was set in the divorce agreement or divorce judgment, if it sees fit to do so on the basis of the circumstances that became known to the plaintiff or that were changed after the divorce agreement or judgment was given.
Furthermore, there is extensive ruling of the courts regarding filing lawsuits to increase the amount of child support, to quote the words of justice Shamgar: “As is known, a ruling regarding alimony does not create an absolute barrier to redeliberating, but you can re-apply to the court for reconsideration regarding the dispute for alimony”. And the words of Justice Ayala Procaccia: “A ruling regarding alimony does not create a final barrier against renewal of litigation and one can re-appeal to the court in connection with the issue of alimony, subject to proving that the was a change in circumstances justifying a change in the original ruling”.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that, in order for the family court to accept the claim to increase the amount of child support paid you need prove an importance condition, that, without it, there would be no basis to your claim, which is: “A substantial change in circumstances” i.e., the plaintive needs to prove in his/her claim that, since the child support ruling was given, there was a substantial change in the circumstances and it would be unjust to leave the child support sum unchanged.
Justice Levine ruled that “Even if a ruling confirming the agreement was given, if it has been proven that since it was issued, there has been a substantial change in the circumstances, and it would be unjust to leave it as is, you can re-open the matter. Judgment based on a certain set of circumstances, existing at the time of its issue, but if a significant change of circumstanced occurs, continued validation of this decision might be unjust”.
When deliberating your claim to increase the child support sum, the court will check if the minors have actually been deprived due to the sum ruled for them. The court will check the age of the minors, their basic needs, their extra needs and the parents’ income.
If the court finds that the minors have not been deprived, the sum will not be increased. To that matter, Justice Yehoram Shaked ruled that one should not hurry into changing the sum of child support determined in the divorce agreement authorized by the court and it should be honored, as much as possible.
Raising the claim that “the minors have grown-up therefor their expenses have grown too” is a claim that was not accepted by the court during the past years, and, recently Justice Erez Shani ruled that: “The fact that the minor has grown-up and his/her needs have changed, as a result of growing-up, was a matter to be anticipated at the time the agreement was authorized, thus, if the claim for increase is not due to an unexpected or unseen expense and results from the natural growth and development of the minor, this alone is not a good enough reason to claim for unexpected change in circumstances”.
Therefore, if you want to claim for increase in the sum of child support, do not hurry to file to the court, unless you have strong evidence proving substantial change in circumstances and deprivation of the minors die to the original sum of child support rule on their behalf.