I was learning in kollel for many years and we couldn’t afford to give maaser kesofim. We had the opportunity to ask R’ Feinstein about the situation who said that since my wife goes out to work, her earnings can be considered her own and that maaser can be taken from them and used for our children’s chinuch. Our situation now is that I have started working and on top of that I am soon to receive some yerusha from the sale of my father’s house (my father passed away a year ago.) How do we deal with the maaser regarding this? Firstly, are there 2 cheshbonos – my wife’s and my own. I.e. is the amount we owe a combination of mine and my wife’s giving so that if I owe $100 and my wife has over given so that maaser owes us then it can offset it or does she have a cheshbon and so do I? My family isn’t frum so even though I am the oldest son everything was split evenly 3 ways between myself, my brother and sister. The yerusha mostly is coming from the house sale. Do I just work it out as 10% of what we get or how is that done?
Maaser has to be given from all income. If both you and your wife are working, the simplest way to give maaser is to combine the two together, and to take maaser from the combined net earnings – to separate the two will lead to complications. This also stands to reason because the money earned by your wife goes to the “home” account just as the money you earn does.
If your wife is in “credit,” it will therefore be permitted to deduct this from the combined earnings.
If you are receiving money from a yerusha, the general principles of maaser will apply to the money you receive, and you should give 10% of it to maaser.