Question: Islamically, are financial assets of married couples assessed separately?
Islamically, financial assets of a wife and a husband are assessed separately. They are not added to one another. A husband may be poor while his wife is rich, and vice versa. The one who is Islamically rich must give zakat on his/her own zakatable assets.
If you, not your husband, have debts, you should deduct your debts from your money. You should weigh your gold and calculate it together with your receivables. Then you must give one-fortieth of it to a poor pious Muslim. Houses, shops, cars are not included in the nisab of zakat. That is, zakat is not paid on them.
Question: Can I not spend my money as I wish? I have got a lot of bracelets. Can I not give my own zakat?
You can spend your own money legitimately as you like. Your husband does not have the right to interfere. If he interferes, it means that he treats you unfairly. However, it is not right for you to spend his own money on things he does not want you to spend. If you get permission, then you can give his money to whomever you want and spend it as you like. It is not right to spend it without his permission.
You yourself must give zakat on your bracelets out of your own money. If you have money given by your husband, you can give zakat by it as well. The money given to you as a gift is yours. If your husband does not permit you to give zakat, you must give it anyway without informing him of it. Permission of a husband is sought in legitimate things. If your husband is not pleased with you as you give zakat, it is of no consequence.
Question: My wife has gold reaching nisab. Do we have to pay zakat separately, or do we have to give zakat on the remainder after deducting our debts from my wifes gold?
You are considered two separate people. If your wife is Islamically rich, then it is she who must give zakat. The one who owes money must deduct his/her debts from his/her zakatable assets. If the remainder reaches nisab, zakat must be given after a complete lunar year passes over it.
Question: Can I pay zakat on behalf of my wife without asking her?
Everyone must give his/her own zakat, so you cannot pay zakat on her behalf without asking her. If she appoints you as her agent, that is, if she says Give my zakat to a poor Muslim, then you can give her zakat from your own money as well.
Question: Both of a couple work and save money. Their joint money exceeds nisab, but not when divided. How should they give zakat?
For example, their joint money equals, say, 100 grams of gold. It reaches nisab for one person, but not for two people. About 50 grams belong to the husband and 50 grams belong to the wife. In Islam, every persons monetary assets are separate. They are not assessed jointly. The couple you mentioned do not have to give zakat.
Question: I give my wifes zakat to a poor Muslim without my wife knowing it. She consented when I informed her of it. Is zakat valid?
Yes, it is valid.
Question: Can I appoint my son, father, or uncle instead of my husband as my agent to give my zakat?
Of course, you can. They can give your zakat even out of their own money.
Question: If a womans husband does not give zakat, will his wife be responsible for it?
If you, after deducting your own debts, personally have money equaling 96 grams of gold, you must give zakat. If a man does not give zakat, his wife and children are not responsible for it. There are many harms related to not giving zakat. A hadith-i sharif says:
(A society that does not give zakat will be subjected to famine and crises.) [Tabarani]