Below are readers' questions about 'Procedure', which we have chosen to answer. More detailed information on 'Procedure' can be found on our main website, Family Law in Israel.
Yes! Under the new regulations effective from July 17 2016, if either party sends a notice within 10 days after the first mediation meeting at the court assistance unit saying that he/she is not interested in further meetings, then after the necessary cooling off period of 14 days, the party who asked for mediation has first option to proceed, and can bring action at the family court within a specified period. Although the assistance unit can hold up to 4 meetings as a default arrangement, the process can be stopped earlier.
For example, this happened in a case handled by our office at Petach Tikva Family Court .The mediation file was opened on 3.8.2016, the single and unsuccessful mediation session took place on 17.8.2016 and the father was able to file proceedings on 11.9.2016.
One - by right, to the Greater Rabbinical Court.
Yes, if a party to the proceedings applies to court,and permission is granted , hen the proceedings can be recorded and a full transcript made, at the applicant party’s expense, unless the court has special reasons it must state, in a written decision ,for rejecting such an application. The verbatim protocol does not replace the court’s own protocol, but is in addition to it, and the recording itself is to deposited with the court, and made available to be both parties, should they wish to listen to it.
A decision denying such permission is appealable, subject to permission being granted by the District Court. For example, in December 2015, Haifa District Court rejected reasons given by Haifa Family Court for not allowing a hearing to be recorded, and allowed an appeal, in part, on this issue, granting permission for recording of proceedings, but dismissing the application for the cost to be borne equally between the parties, pointing out that the law specifically states that costs are to be borne by the applicant party.
Two - the first as of right, to the District Court, and if the appeal is rejected, permission can be asked from the Supreme Court, to file a further appeal, against the District Court's ruling.
Possibly! You can apply to cancel the adverse decision within 30 days of being served with it . The court has discretion to cancel an ex-parte decision but you have to persuade the court that it was wrong to make a decision in your absence in the first place ,given the particular circumstances. If this fails, you can consider appeal.
The district court.
No! Private reports cannot be submitted to the family court unless it has prior permission is sought and granted. This is explicitly stated in Israeli law and regulations. The parent can ask the court for permission to summon the expert to the proof stage hearing, and cross examine him/her on his report, in an attempt to undermine it and lessen its weight. The court is not bound to accept the expert's recommendations, although this is usually the case.
You need to make an application to the judge to disqualify him/herself from dealing with your case. This can be made in writing, or orally, during a hearing. You need to prove a 'substantial risk of bias' against you, to the extent that you will not get a fair hearing. In practice, such applications are very difficult to prove, and are only successful in the most extreme cases.
If the judge refuses to disqualify him/herself you will have to decide whether to appeal against the decison to the President of the Supreme Court, or to back down and let him/her continue managing the case, and apepal against the final judgment, latter if the result is not to your satisfaciton.
Yes, but only in exceptional circumstances, as happened in November 2018 when Beersheva Family Court in Israel cancelled the appointment of a medical expert and his “report”, concerning the mental capacity of the deceased to make a will in an inheritance case . The court appointed another expert instead, after he had acted extremely unprofessionally, and had even shredded medical records , upon which his opinion was based, thus preventing the parties from reaching the “truth”, through written questions, or through oral cross examination in court.
Not necessarily. For this to be so the mistake would have to be a vital factual one, which led to the wrong conclusion and wrong outcome in the case. Otherwise, the judgment will stand, despite a factual error in the judgment, as for example, in February 2011 ,the Central District Court stressed in an appeal case against a Rishon LeZion Family Court judgment refusing to grant probate for a will. The appeal court found that the family court held mistakenly held that the testator had “signed” the will with a thumbprint, when it actually bore a handwritten signature. However, it stated that despite this mistake, its conclusions , which were based on other facts and evidence, were still correct, and, accordingly, there was no reason to interfere with either its conclusions or the judgment.
Usually an appeal court does not interfere regarding factual findings, but concentrates on whether the court of first instance made a mistake on a point of law, or drew a wrong conclusion from the facts.
Forty five days .
By being represented by competent and experienced counsel in Israel, from a bilingual aw practice which can communicate with clients in English, and represent them in Hebrew ,in the legal process in Israel. Proceedings in Israel are conducted in Hebrew, not English. Procedural rules require written pleadings to be filed in Hebrew, not English. Personal attendance is compulsory at hearings, unless exemption is granted, and this can be obtained, upon request, at least during preliminary stages especially if the client is represented, and available by phone/skype at the time.
Not automatically if you want to fight it at the time - you can appeal, but only if you are granted permisson by the district (appeal )court after applying to do so within 30 days. Another option exists - to appeal against the temporary maintenance decision as part of an appeal against the judgment at the end of the case.
Fifteen days from when you 'service' was performed (i.e. when you officially received it).
Yes, both countries are bound by an international convention regarding the service of documents in civil proceedings, which recognizes service in Israel according to Israeli domestic law . Under Israeli civil procedure rules lawyers (or someone they appoint to act on their behalf ) are able to serve documents.
Affiidavits or "Declarations of Diligence" (from the lawyer or the person performing service on the lawyer's behalf in Israel) can be prepared to support their actions, and then notarized and apostilled so that they can be submtted as evidence in the foreign proceedings.
Apply immediately to the family court for an ex-parte order to prevent the minor from leaving the country. Certain religious courts e.g. rabbinical court can also deal with such applications, but the family court will have jurisdiction over any child who is physically present in Israel, irrespective of his religion, or other status.
As an exception, yes, in which case another appointment could be made, to replace the previous appointment. For example, in October 2016, as part of an appeal filed by a biological mother fighting adoption proceedings, Beersheva District Court cancelled the appointment of the court appointed expert who had filed a report in adoption proceedings at the family court because he was not on the approved list of court experts. It appointed a replacement expert to file a report instead. This was so even although both parties had consented to the pyschologist's appointment. Citing binding Supreme Court precedent on the matter, the District Court stated very clearly that family courts must adhere strictly to the law and regulations relating to the appointment of experts .
This situation is different from one whereby an appeal court in family court proceedings may choose to appoint an additional expert or order a supplementary report, without actually scrapping the initial appointment or report.
Take action under the Hague Convention for the return of an abducted child, as both Israel and the United States are signatories to and bound by the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. Translated into practice, this means getting a plea filed in Hebrew, at a family court in Israel, for a return order regarding the child under the 1991 Israeli Hague Convention Act, which is the Israel legislation based on the convention.