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IslamQA: Can a wife demand her owed living allowance after divorce?

Salam alaykum. May I ask? How is the law about a wife who demands divorce (khulu'), then May she collect a living allowance that has never been given by her husband? During the 6 months of marriage, her husband only gave her a living allowance once. Syukron . Jazaakallah khayr

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

According to the Mālikī, Shafiʿī and Ḥanbalī schools the nafaqa (living allowance”) is a debt on the husband that he is required to pay unless the wife forgives the debt. This means that if the husband fails to pay it for a certain number of months, the wife is allowed to request full payment (I am not sure if the divorce affects this, it appears like it should not). The Ḥanafīs however say that it is not a debt unless the couple agreed together to consider it a debt.

So according to the aforementioned three schools your husband would have to pay the living allowance that he owes you. I am not exactly sure about the Ḥanafī position in your specific case.

It would be best if both of you agree to ask a scholar or imam that both of you respect and see what he says regarding your case.


And God knows best.
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