Monday, June 14, 2010

Modern Concubine

"In general terms, the Talmud distinguishes between a concubine and a wife in the following way: Wives have ketubah (marriage contract) and kiddushin (formal marriage ceremony i.e., hupah) while concubines have neither...
"However, Rashi takes issue with this definition. According to him, even a concubine must have kiddushin, but what she lacks is a ketubah (which delineates the financial responsibilities a husband has for his wife)."
There's a reason that Jewish marriage requires a ketubah. A document spelling out the terms of the arrangement, as well as what will happen should the relationship dissolve (by divorce or death), is invaluable for the ex-partners.
In the case of a death, it's also pretty handy for any children or other people with claims on the estate.
When Bad Cohen's father died, he left behind three adult children, and a non-Jewish live-in partner. She was a divorcee who was a family friend for decades, and the children on both sides though the relationship was weird, but were glad they could now be sort-of-stepsiblings, as they'd all been close for the last 30 years.
Fortunately, BC's dad had spelled out clearly what he wanted to happen in the event of his death, through his will and conversations with the children and this partner.
Unfortunately, she either willfully misconstrued things, or has gone completely off her rocker, and now thinks that she should live in their house rent-free, while HIS children pay off the mortgage, property taxes, utilities, etc. Never mind that she has income of her own, and her own children, she thinks that HIS children are supposed to support her for the rest of her life.
I should probably mention that even if they wanted to, the kids can't afford to do this - we have families of our own, and aren't too stable financially, especially if we use the minor inheritence to pay off the mortgage for BC's dad's house. BC himself is roughly 50% disabled, so we'll always be poor.
I was thinking of the Torah's injunction not to oppress the widow or the orphan... and realized that without a civil marriage, let alone a Jewish one with a ketubah, there is no widow here.
There is a modern concubine, who agreed to a relationship that didn't come with death benefits.
So, lady, sorry, but please don't oppress the orphans. They have enough to deal with without your meshugas.

7 Comments:

Blogger Jack said...

Oy, sometimes things get so muddy and complex...unnecessarily.

6/14/2010 7:45 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

As always, write it down, write it down, write it down.

6/14/2010 8:24 PM  
Anonymous swiss said...

Well, if he had married her, according to the laws of my coutry, half the heritage would go to her, and the children would be left with the other half. So ultimately, half of the heritage would end up with her children.

But since he did not marry her, I believe she has no claim. But I am sure this will be changed sometime...

6/15/2010 9:43 AM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

swiss, we live in a state that doesn't recognize common-law marriages, so, given the will, she has no legal standing to ask for ANYTHING. But if she finds an unscrupulous lawyer she could still tie us up in court for a long time and use up all the inheiritence in legal expenses.

6/15/2010 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Yo, Yenta! said...

Oh this SUCKS...I would get as much free legal advice as possible on how to scare her off!

6/16/2010 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. Legal conflicts combined with family are never fun, especially when part of the family is assholes.

6/16/2010 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Minnesota Mamaleh said...

oh-so-sucky! sorry to hear this! it made for an excellent post but an unfortunate, sad situation indeed. sending all good lawyer-ish-solve-the-problem thoughts your way, lady!!

6/18/2010 12:30 AM  

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