1,638. Brothers Who Don't Give Their Sister Her Dowry

Hilchos Ishus 20:12

Let’s say that a fatherless girl was married off by her brothers or her mother as a minor with her consent, and she was given 50 or 100 zuz as a dowry. In such a case, when the girl reaches the age of majority, she is entitled to the dowry she should have received, either based upon calculating what her father would have paid or one-tenth of the real estate he left behind. This is the case even if the brothers did not provide her with maintenance and even if she didn’t object when she was married because a minor cannot file such a legal complaint.

Hilchos Ishus 20:13

If a daughter marries after reaching the age of majority, either as a naarah (age 12) or a bogeres (12½), and she doesn’t demand her dowry, she forfeits it. However, if she objected at the time of the marriage, then she can collect at any time what she should have been given. Let’s say that she reached adulthood and continued living in her father's house, whether she reached adulthood before or after he died, and her brothers stopped supporting her, which is their right as was explained in halacha 19:10. In such a case, if she remains silent and doesn’t demand her dowry, she forfeits it; if she objects, she does not forfeit it. If her brothers continue to support her even after she reaches adulthood, she doesn’t forfeit her dowry so long as they keep supporting her even if she doesn’t object. This is because she can say that she didn’t demand her dowry because the brothers supported her even when they were not required to and she hasn’t married yet.