Below are readers' questions about 'Divorce–Religious', which we have chosen to answer. More detailed information on 'Divorce–Religious' can be found on our main website, Family Law in Israel.
Yes, an application can be made for a judgment of divorce by consent,through the authorization of a divorce agreement that can be drawn up and filed at the local rabbinical court in Israel. The agreement can specifically state that the ‘get’ is to to be written in Israel, but handed to the wife in Australia, via a special rabbinical court messenger. This way neither party will have the expense and inconvenience of long distance travel.
Yes, under Israeli law a Jewish wife as well as a Jewish husband can be awarded financial compensation for their Jewish spouse's refusal to obey a rabbinical court ruling obliging them to co-operate over a 'get' (Jewish divorce), in extreme situations.
For example, way back In December 2004 Jerusalem Family Court dealt with a civil damages suit between a Jewish couple, and awarded substantial damages to the Plaintiff, a Jewish wife, whose husband had refused ,over a 12 year period, to comply with a district rabbinical court ruling compelling him to grant her a 'get. The damages awarded were around 850,000 Shekels, plus legal costs,and included an annual refusal charge of 200,000 Shekels from the time the Greater Rabbinical Court upheld the original ruling, on appeal.
The official rabbinical court of the State of Israel (the 'Rabbinate') is the only one authorized to end their marriage, according to Israeli law.
She can approach the Legal Aid bureau and request that the State appoint and finance a lawyer to represent her in divorce proceedings at the rabbinate. The first recommended step would be to file the husband for maintenance or supplementary maintenance (where she works, without earning enough to manage),which would put financial pressure on the husband.
Yes! You can agree to divorce by mutual consent , and have a basic agreement drawn up covering this, which can be submitted to the rabbinical court in Israel for authorization. Your husband can leave a special power of attorney at the rabbinical court in Israel , to be given to you overseas, via a special Messenger.
The divorce judgment itself can be given in Israel, but the actual "Get" ceremony can be completed outside Israel.
Yes, but in the most extreme cases only. For example, in May 2010 Jerusalem Family Court awarded a Jewish husband over 400,000 N. I. S. compensation from his wife in a civil damages suit for her refusal to accept a 'Get' for over four years, despite rabbinical rulings compelling her to do so (File 18561/07). The husband had sued his wife for over a million shekels. She had disobeyed a rabbinical court order,backed up on appeal, obliging her to divorce. The family court also held thatthe wife would be fined another 4,000 a month from then onwards, until they actually divorced according to Jewish law, should her refusal continue.
If there is mutual consent, they can arrange a 'get' abroad, where they live, if there is a Beth Din L'Getim(rabbinical court dealing with divorce ) officially recognized in Israel. Such a foreign court will have no jurisdiction to manage a divorce case – and can only operate where there is mutual consent to end the marriage. If, however, there is no mutual consent, then they will have to open a divorce file here in Israel.
Application can be made at the rabbinical court for a range of restrictive orders against the uncooperative party. These include orders to stop him/her leaving Israel, banning him/her from holding or renewing an Israeli passport or driving licence, using cheques and a bank account, and even imprisonment.
If your wife co-operates, following negotiations, a comprehensive divorce agreement ( to end both the marriage and your financial relations) can be reached. This can receive legal validity, both in Israel and South Africa. This is the quickest, and most cost-effective way, and preferable to a legal battle.
If the absence of co-operation on your wife's part, you can file for divorce at the rabbinical court (which has exclusive extra-territorial jurisdiction) over the marrriage and divorce itself and ask for permission to send her the plea overeas, but you cannot include property issues, if the centre of her life is overseas. In that case, you can initiate legal proceedings for the division of property at the family court in Israel, according to Israeli law, and of course, also need to apply for permission to serve your wife with the court papers overseas.
Yes! Israeli law adopts Jewish religious law regarding personal matters between Jews. Even though you married in a civil ceremony not even recognised in Jewish law, overseas, you still need a 'get' (religious divorce) to remove any doubt,and allow you both to be eligible to marry someone else under Jewish law.
If there is mutual consent, a 'get' (Jewish religious divorce) can be arranged via an authorized Beth Din (Jewish religious court) in England. A special power of attorney can be prepared in Israel enabling the husband to be represented by a 'messenger' in England to represent him at the 'get' ceremony on his behalf, so that he need not actually have to attend in person to deliver it to his wife.
Yes, physical violence is a ground for divorce under Jewish law, and if proved, the rabbinical court will oblige the husband to grant his wife a 'get'.
No! If the centre of your life is abroad, the Israeli district rabbinical court will retain extra-territorial jurisdiciton over your actual marriage and divorce, even though you are overseas, but , following a legal amendment from 2005, it cannot "tie" in anxcilliary issues like property, to the divorce plea, which it could do, if you were both living in Israel. The family court will have jurisdiction over these issues.
Furthermore, your husband must act in good faith when he files for divorce, and if you live overseas, he must not conceal this, but must ask for permission to serve you with court papers, outside Israel, and is obliged to provide a notarized translation into English of the material filed.
From what you say, the rabbinical court in Israel would lack jurisdiction to deal with property issues, even if your husband did file for divorce properly and in good faith. It would appear that you have not been served properly either. Valid service is an essential starting point for the legal process.
The main principles governing the time and cost of a Jewish religious 'Get' for new immigrants are the same as those applying to any Jewish couple - i. e. by and large this will be a function of the degree of co-operation between the parties,and the simplicity or complexity of issues ancilliary to divorce e. g. children and property,and negotiation on these. If both parties want to divorce, the 'Get' itself, can be arranged quickly,subject to diary constrictions of the rabbinical court,usually within up to a few weeks or months,and shorter in urgent cases.
If there are mutual children and property, it is advisable to draw up a written divorce agreement,and even have it authorised at the family court, first, and the part relating to the divorce itself,at the rabbinical court, later. Where the rabbinical court sees that the parties have separated, and have already authorised an agreement between them at the family court ,this may well speed up the setting of dates for hearing where a divorce judgment will be given based on mutual consent, and the "Get" process. Authorisation of an agreement at the family court depends upon diary availability,but can normally be arranged within a short time of up to a few weeks,and,again, even more quickly,in urgent cases.
Regarding costs, the court filing fees are the same regardless of whether the couple are new immigrants or not. If legal fees are hourly based, the greater the co-operation, the cheaper the cost.
Yes, it could be interpreted as an 'ugly act' under Jewish law, and as such it could jeopardize her rights according to her Ketuba ( Jewish marriage contract/bond), and her rights to maintenance during the remainder of her marriage. Furthermore, it would strengthen the suspicion that she committed adultery, though it does not, in itself, constitute sufficient proof to constitute grounds for the rabbinical court to oblige her to divorce.
No! The Israeli Supreme Court of Justice (“Bagatz”) gave a clear 6:1 ruling on this, in an enlarged panel of 7 judges, in 2014, deciding that the issue of circumcision (“Brit Mila”) cannot be tied into a divorce plea, and accordingly, the rabbinical court has no jurisdiction to grant such an order.
At the rabbinical court which has exclusive extra-territorial jurisdiction over divorce between Jews,under Israeli law,even if they married abroad,in a civil ceremony,as you did. You will need a special kind of 'get' or religious divorce,to erase any doubt. If you both agree,a joint application can be made,which makes the process easier and quicker,as mutual consent is sufficient grounds for divorce,under Jewish law. If you do not both agree to divorce,then whoever wishes to do so will have to prove grounds,under Jewish law.
Yes, the rabbinical court has jurisdiction to grant a divorce even without a comprehensive written 'divorce' agreement in the widest sense of the word.
Yes! Divorce by mutual consent is sufficient grounds for divorce in Israel and the process can proceed if both of you are in Israel or if she returns to the States.
An Israeli divorce judgment can then be recognized in the States later.
Only through the rabbinate (Orthodox, official Jewish religious court).
Yes, if you can prove it, as he would be breaking his marital duties under Jewish law towards you as his wife if he acted as you allege.
Yes, it is possible to effect divorce by consent, under Jewish law,even if the husband lives outside Israel- and without the need for him to travel to Israel for this purpose, using a special procedure and a messenger/agent to deliver the 'get'
from the husband, overseas, to the wife in Israel.
If you obtain a valid Jewish religious divorce in Israel, you can have it recognized in the U. S. A. through a civil judicial and/or administrative process there, for the recognition of foreign divorce judgments.
You will need to obtain Apostille authorization of both the divorce judgment and the divorce certificate issued in Israel so that these are recognized as genuine public documents in the U. S. A. and most probably will have to obtain notarized or otherwise recognised authorized translations of these from Hebrew to English, for the relevant process in the U. S. A.
For further details on this, you should contact a family law expert in the USA.
Only at the rabbinate (Orthodox, official Jewish religious court).
There is a clear prohibition for 90 days under Jewish law so that there is no confusion about whose sperm impregnates her – her first husband or his successor.
Your Israeli divorce is not automatically recognized or recorded in the U. S. A - you need to make sure this is done in the U. S. A , too. For this you will need Apostilled documents relating to the divorce at the Rabbinical Court and a certified translation. If the translation is performed in Israel, it should be a notarized translation, with apostille certification, for use outside Israel.
Unless your Israeli divorce is recognized and registered in the U. S. A , you will be officially divorced in Israel but still married in the U. S. A. , and have what is known as a "limping marriage". In this situation you cannot marry anywhere,legally.
Yes! There are situations in which an unstable person has the legal capacity to "consent" to divorce, so that the marriage can be lawfully ended. Under Jewish law, the man must freely consent to give the wife a "get" (Jewish divorce) and she must freely consent to accept it for the divorce ceremony to be valid.
Only through the rabbinate (Orthodox, official Jewish religious court).
Open a file for divorce at the rabbinical court, and prove grounds under Jewish law. Proof of some grounds for divorce (e. g. adultery) is sufficient for the rabbinical court to order the offending party to end the marriage. Where clear proof of knock-out grounds, which oblige the couple to end their marriage, do not exist, the court will have discretion to give a divorce judgment.