Fatwa ID: 05210
Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
A British couple living in the UK have recently got divorced. They have three children aged 10 (girl), 6 (boy) and 3 (boy) years old.
The ex-wife has custody of the children.
The ex-wife is not currently working and doesn’t have any savings. She is now receiving the following benefits:
- Income Support (for herself)
- Child Benefit (for the children)
- Child Tax Credit (for the children)
- Some form of Council Tax relief – she is entitled to this as a child under the age of 6 years is living with her.
I would like to know my shari’ obligations for the following based on the background given above:
- I understand that according to shariah I have to provide basic maintenance for the children which includes accommodation, food and clothing.
With respect to accommodation, I’m willing to provide rented property where they are able to live. According to shariah do I need to cover the accommodation costs (i.e. rent and bills) for the three children ONLY or do I need to pay for the ex-wife’s share of the living costs (rent and bills) as well as long as they are in her custody and living with her?
If the answer to the above is that I need to cover the ex-wife’s share of the costs as well, then would the obligation on me be altered in any way if she also received a rental benefit from the government (which hasn’t been listed above) – whether this benefit is received for herself and/or for the kids as well?
- Would I also be required under shariah to pay any other maintenance to the ex-wife due to the fact that she’s got custody of the children and looking after them?
- Can the children related benefits that she is receiving, as listed above, be taken into account by me for covering some part of the accommodation and other maintenance costs for the children?
- If I’m to pay for the ex-wife’s share of the accommodation costs (rent and bills) and any other maintenance from question 1 above, can any income support she receives be taken into account by me as well to offset the costs?
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
It is permissible for a father to take into consideration the state benefits when calculating the monthly allowance for his children. Furthermore, a husband can also take into consideration any benefits which are being paid to his ex-wife when calculating her maintenance during the Iddah period.
The reason for this is because state benefits are generated through taxes levied on goods and also from peoples earnings, thus, to a certain minimum, a father/husband is contributing already to his children’s or ex-wife’s contribution.
Regarding the question of whether you are required to pay rent for your ex-wife for the rented accommodation, she will be sharing with your three children.
I posed this question to one of my beloved, dear and respected teachers Hadhrat Shaikh Mufti Tahir Wadee Sahib (DB) and his response was that a husband would have to pay the rent for his ex-wife. He based his answer on a carer i.e. the same way the father would have been financially responsible if he hired someone to look after his children, in the same way, his ex-wife’s rent would have to be paid by him.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham