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Israel: Family Court Denies Suit of Lover of a Married Man

(July 15, 2015) On June 8, 2015, the Tel Aviv Family Court rejected a suit filed by a woman against a married man with whom she had romantic relationship four years ago. The woman was asking for living expenses in the amount of ILS923,000 (about US$241,428). (Family (TA) File 4574-04-14 Anonymous v. Anonymous (June 8, 2015), TAKDIN LEGAL DATABASE (in Hebrew, by subscription).)

The plaintiff, a divorcee who worked as a real estate agent and had a young son, had maintained a relationship with the defendant, a married man and a father to a young girl. During the four years of their relationship, the defendant paid part of the plaintiff’s expenses and, according to the Court, “expressed generosity also towards her son.” (Id. ¶ 4.)

Upon the deterioration of their relationship, the defendant had prepared a document that the plaintiff signed, stating that the plaintiff regretted her conduct toward him and forwent any claim arising from their relationship and cohabitation. (Id. ¶ 5.)

Not disputing that the plaintiff was not a spouse within the meaning of the Family Law Amendment (Maintenance) Law, 5719-1959 (13 LAWS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL 73 (5719-1958/58, as amended)), the plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s obligation to support her arose from an inherent agreement between them based on the nature of their relationship and in accordance with principles of justice and good faith. ( Family (TA) File 4574-04-14, ¶¶ 13-14.)

Rejecting the plaintiff’s claim, Judge Yhoram Shaked concluded, based on testimonies of the plaintiff and her relatives, that the defendant initiated the document exempting him from financial liability after he had been physically attacked by the plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 29.) In the circumstances of this case, Shaked held, no good faith and decency have been proven. The plaintiff’s suit, according to Shaked, included

… hundreds of attachments, receipts, and invoices to prove that the defendant indeed spent money on behalf of the plaintiff. It is true that when a litigant wishes to prove his suit it is expected of him to support it with testimonies and good evidence. Nevertheless, the ‘march of receipts’ in this suit may on the one hand indicate that the defendant spent not small financial amounts on the plaintiff but on the other may also indicate an additional troubling fact: a review of the content of the receipts attached by the plaintiff indicates that the defendant’s claim that the plaintiff saw in him a potential target of a lawsuit and not a friend was not made in a vacuum and cannot be said to be unrealistic. (Id. ¶ 39.)