Israeli Family-Law Forum - Strategy/Tactics

Strategy/Tactics Below are selected questions sent by readers on 'Strategy/Tactics' which we have answered. Further information can be found on our main website, www.family-laws.co.il, by running a search using keywords.
Yes! By way of a special judicial “parental order” given by the family court, as happened in November 2015, when Tel Aviv family court granted such an order in relation to two Lesbian women, one Christian and one Jewish, bypassing the prohibition on adoption, in this case. The decision was given in the spirit of precedent set by the Supreme Court in 2014 which eased the recognition of non-biological parenthood.

He should file detailed and reasoned written defence pleadings, in which he should analyse, criticize and undermine the claims made about the children's needs and expenses,and relate to the relative financial capabilities and earning potential of the parents.

Submit a Hague Convention plea for the return of his abducted children, to the appropriate family court in Israel, without delay. This will freeze the custody and maintenance proceedings until after the child abduction case is over. They will only proceed if the child is not returned to the States in the Hague case.

It is possible to extricate yourself from the situation,but you would need to manage several  proceedings at the family court ( custody,relocation,maintenance, dissolution of marriage ) and get appropriate and experienced specialist legal representation in Israel.

If you are a normative mother, and your children are under 6, and you have been the children's primary caregiver  since birth,your chances of getting custody are very high. Gaining sole custody is a necessary stepping stone to gaining court permission to leave Israel legally with the children, and raise them abroad, if the father objects. To help the court decide whether a mother with custody should be allowed to relocate overseas with children,  it normally appoints experts (social worker and clinical psychologist) to make reports and recommendations. Ultimately, the court will have to decide whether you raising the children overseas is the best option for them,in all the circumstances, even if their father objects.

This process can take time, but with proper representation, you should be able to get temporary custody and financial support for yourself and the children (temporary maintenance), that would allow you to live separately from your husband during the proceedings.

Our law practice has successfully represented mothers in similar situations,but it is important that you get appropriate legal advice on strategy and tactics,about how to co-ordinate and manage the various issues and legal proceedings. If legal pressure is put on your husband, it is possible that a comprehensive divorce agreement could be reached that deals with all the relevant issues but, most importantly,allows you to relocate with the children, while guaranteeing him visitation in Israel and the U.K., and ongoing phone and Skype contact.

Yes, in principle ! The rabbinical court only has jurisdiction to deal with the divorce,and issues which can be 'tied' into it, such as custody,maintenance and property, where the parties as both Jews. Thus, if you can prove that your mother's conversion to Judaism was not genuine, and that she remained Christian, and, therefore, that you were born Christian, and never converted, then you can dispute its jurisdiction if your husband brings proceedings at the rabbinical court. Furthermore, your "marriage" may be void from the beginning, anyhow! You would be advised to seek individual professional advice, from a family law specialist, given the particular circumstances of your case. These need to be examined fully, so that  you can receive advice regarding strategy and tactics, when the full picture is available,and a detailed analysis can be made.

In any case, you are free to file for custody, maintenance and division of your property at the family court ,and would be recommended to do so as soon as possible, before your "husband" brings proceedings at the rabbinical court. Even when both parties are genuinely Jewish, it is usually preferable for the wife to aim to file for these before the husband brings proceedings at the rabbinical court.

Act almost immediately, and file for divorce at the rabbinical court, tying in her maintenance to  your plea. Usually the rabbinical court awards lower sums of maintenance for women than the family court.

File quickly for divorce at the rabbinical court, and tie in the issue of her maintenance. This will win the jurisdictional race between the rabbinical court and the family court over her maintenance, and prevent her from filing you for financial support at the family court.

If he is called in for questioning by the police, he should go, tell the truth but vehemently deny any violence, and even offer to take a polygraph. If proceedings are opened against him in court for a protection order, he should file a response affidavit, and appear at any hearing set, and try and disprove any claims made by his wife about his alleged violence.

You should file a formal 'Shom Bayit' (marital reconciliation)plea at the rabbinical court, and also file a written defence to your husband's plea and try to prove that he has no grounds to end your marriage under Jewish law. Unless your husband can prove one of the required grounds under Jewish law, the rabbinical court can throw out his divorce plea, unless you consent to divorce.

A plea for 'Shlom Bayit' is actually toothless, even if successful - the idea is that an appeal is made to the moral authority of the rabbinical court, to put pressure on the husband to return home or work on the marriage, but even if a ''Shlom Bayit' ruling is made in your favour, it cannot be enforced. One of the aims of filing for 'Shlom Bayit' is that it buys time to mend the marriage.

Definitely - regarding maintenance for a wife or children, and/or child custody and/or division of marital partnership in property, including the home, proceedings are usually more efficient, quicker and cheaper if dealt with at the family court, and not at the rabbinical court, although they can be heard there , if tied to a divorce plea filed there first. All these issues, except the actual divorce between Jews, can be dealt with at the family court, as the rabbinical court has exclusive jurisdiction over the actual divorce (or 'get'), irrespective of where the two Jewish parties married in the world, and irrespective of in whatever ceremony they did so.

If, however, the husband files at the rabbinical court first, then he will block the tactical advantage that the wife could gain by acting first.