1,590. Collecting a Kesubah in the Husband's Absence

Hilchos Ishus 16:16

To collect the value of a kesubah without her husband present, a woman must first take an oath. Therefore, if a man divorces his wife and leaves, she can take an oath, after which the court seizes his property in order to pay the woman the value of her kesubah. This applies when the husband is far away and it would be difficult to reach him; if he is nearby and reachable, a message is sent to notify him. If he doesn’t come, then the woman takes the oath and collects her money.

Hilchos Ishus 16:17

A woman who has reduced the value of her kesubah doesn’t take an oath before collecting it, as follows. Let’s say that a woman’s kesubah says that she is entitled to 1,000 zuz. Her husband says that she has already received it and she says that she hasn’t yet received anything but she volunteers that she is only owed 500 zuz because, even though her husband wrote 1,000 in the kesubah, they had an understanding between them. In such a case, she need not take an oath in order to collect. However, if the woman says that her kesubah was only written for 500 zuz, she cannot collect it with the document that says 1,000 zuz because she has contradicted it, like calling it false. In such a case, the husband can take an oath of rabbinic origin and be exempted.