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Consulting One’s Spouse Before Liquidating Assets

The Gemara in Baba Kama (p.15) states that there is no difference between men and women with regard to monetary damages. If a woman damages someone else’s property, she is liable, according to the same standards as a man. The Poskim discuss the Halacha of damages done by a woman to her husband’s possessions. The Shulhan Aruch (Eben HaEzer 80:17)rules that a woman who damages household utensils while performing housework is exempt from compensating her husband, who legally is the owner of the household assets. The commentaries to the Shulhan Aruch, the Chelkak Mehokek and the Bet Shmuel infer from this that she is exempt only from damage caused during her work, but she would be liable for damage caused at other times. Nevertheless, they cite the Talmud Yerushalmi, which says that she is exempt from any damage caused in the house, even if it was not a result of her work. This would not necessarily apply to a case where she broke utensils on purpose or where she gave them away to someone else. She must consult with her husband before she unilaterally liquidates the assets of the house.

SUMMARY
A woman is not liable for inadvertent damage done to household items belonging to her husband.
A woman may not give away household items without permission of her husband.

 


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