Below are readers' questions about 'Bailiff's', which we have chosen to answer. More detailed information on 'Bailiff's' can be found on our main website, Family Law in Israel.


No! A decision about closing a maintenance file at the bailiff's must be made by the recipient of the maintenance i.e. your ex-wife, not the debtor.



No !Ongoing maintenance cannot be paid in installments, only a maintenance debt. You should get advice as to whether you should apply for a reduction in the amount set.

Yes, legal proceedings could be initiated against you at the Bailiff’s to enforce your obligation under the divorce agreement. If this happens, you will be required to respond, and if you object, it is likely that the Registrar there will order you to obtain a declaration from the family court cancelling this obligation , by bringing legal action there, relating to the substantial change in your circumstances. This is the likely scenario, according to the chronology of events described by the Israeli Supreme Court (Leave of Family Appeal 1480-16) in August 2016, in a case concerning proceedings brought against an ex-husband/father at the Bailiff’s by his ex-wife/the mother, to enforce his undertaking in their divorce agreement . There, he undertook to pay half of the tuition fees and living costs for each of their children, at first-degree level. Although he started doing this, when the eldest child began studying in England, he refused to continue doing so, after the middle child announced her plans to study for a degree there, too. Clearly the outcome will depend on the particular details /circumstances of the case, and whether the court ruling/s are appealed.


You are entitled to open the file at any bailiff's court in Israel.

Declaration of a person as bankrupt protects him against creditors and prevents them from being able to get all or part of the debt. In contrast, an order for paying a debt/debts in installments, as part of combining files against a debtor at the bailiff's, does provide certain protection from creditors but does not relieve the debtor  of the obligation to pay the debt. He still has to pay it back - but just a little at a time, over a long period . Furthermore, the debtor is not protected from changes in the order that may be made if his situation improves , or if new facts ,unknown at the time, are discovered concerning his financial situation. 



One option is to find out where he lives in Israel and request 'personal service' and deliver the documents. If you cannot find out where he is in Israel, you can apply to the Ministry of Interior, to try and establish whether he is still in Israel. If he is found to be in Israel, then you can ask the Chief Bailiff to let you serve the documents by substituted service' - putting a notice in the press.


Open a maintenance file at the bailiff's and apply immediately for an order to stop him leaving the country, on the basis that his absence will hinder your action for securing the maintenance debt.



Yes ! Liquid assets like a pension fund can be 'frozen' to pay maintenance, although a separate application must be made justifying the use of the money, and detailing your 'ex's' behaviour.


Yes, you can enforce a temporary decision. as well, as a judgment, at the Bailiff's office.


Within the maintenance file you open at the Bailiff's , you could ask for an order to be made obliging his employer's to deduct the maintenance directly from his salary, for transfer directly to you.


You must apply immediately to the Chief Bailiff for its cancellation, pointing out that you are a foreign resident, whose centre of life is abroad. Orders preventing the exit of foreign residents are only given in rare circumstances and freedom of movement is a constitutional right, applying to non-Israelis, too. Furthermore, Israeli courts have held that, as a rule, it is illogical and illegal to prevent someone whose source of income lies overseas from leaving Israel, and  being able to earn money which will allow him to pay any maintenance debt due here in Israel.