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Marriage and Divorce

Divorce Between Jews

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My husband filed for divorce at the rabbinical court and included my maintenance. The rabbinical court has now rejected his plea. He still won’t support me financially. What are my legal options for getting him to do so ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews

In general, once a rabbinical court rejects a husband’s divorce plea to which a wife’s maintenance has been bound , it loses jurisdiction over the issue of the wife’s maintenance, the Supreme Court held in the eighties. The wife is then free to decide whether to file for her maintenance at the rabbinical court or in the civil system, where jurisdiction nowadays lies with the family court.

My husband turned to drink after his business started running into financial difficulty. He is now an alcoholic, though he won’t admit it and will not go for treatment. He has ceased to function in many respects . He cannot support me and the children financially. We no longer have any sex life as he cannot function sexually under the influence of alcohol. Can I divorce him because of his addiction to alcohol ? We are both Jewish.

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
Under Jewish law a man who cannot satisfy his wife sexually or support her financially is not fulfilling his duties as a husband according to their Ketuba (marriage contract). A Jewish woman whose Jewish husband is addicted to alcohol and ,as a result of his addiction, fails to perform these two duties has grounds for divorce.

We have never been well off as a married couple, always having to scrimp and save. My husband is in regular employment on an average salary. Since the start of the recession , however, he seems to have become depressed and out of hopelessness has started spending more and more money every week on lottery tickets and football pools.This gambling mania is getting out of hand . Does Jewish law allow a wife to divorce her husband because of his addiction to gambling ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
If the results of a husband’s gambling habits adversely affect marital life so that he is not fulfilling his duties according to Jewish law – in particular supporting his wife and children financially – then the wife has grounds for divorce.
Furthermore, if a husband’s gambling addiction results in other forms of negative behaviour which are recognised under Jewish law as grounds for divorce- e.g.  physical and verbal violence – then the wife may have additional legal cause when she files to end their marriage at the rabbinical court.

I only got married to my husband a few months ago. Am I entitled to file for divorce even if he does not agree to divorce ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
Yes ! A Jewish wife is entitled to initiate divorce proceedings without her husband’s permission, however short the marriage. However, she will only be entitled to divorce if she can prove grounds for divorce according to those recognized by Jewish law , at the rabbinical court , if the husband does not consent to end the marriage.

My husband wants to leave Israel. I don’t. Do I have grounds for divorce under Jewish law because he wants to leave Israel ? I have nothing else against him.

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
ewish law regards Israel favourably as regards to the Diaspora as a place of residence.A spouse’s desire to leave Israel may be a sufficient ground for divorce if their refusal to live here is unjustifiable.
A rabbinical court decides on the matter given the circumstances of the particular case . During different periods of history it has been held that refusal to make “aliyah” (immigration to Israel) has been justifiable where the journey was particularly difficult or dangerous.

Can a woman divorce her husband who is emotionally disturbed ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
Where there is doubt about a husband’s emotional state and his legal capacity, the wife must wait for the ‘all clear’ regarding his ability to attend a divorce hearing. In 1998 Rehovot District Rabbinical Court decided not to set a date for a divorce hearing until medical reports were received showing an improvement in the husband’s mental state. It said it should be expressly stated that he was able to “stand trial”, as earlier it had been said that he did not to understand the divorce process .


Is Schizophrenia a ground for divorce under Jewish law ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews


Must someone who wishes to marry but who has in the past been committed to a mental institution declare this to his/her potential spouse beforehand, under Jewish law ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews

Yes. Under Jewish law someone about to marry has a duty to disclose his/her full mental/emotional history before marriage.

My husband has been in a mental hospital for years and “lost his mind” completely. He has no hope of recovery and will be there until he dies. We are both Jewish. Can I get a divorce, or marry someone else ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
No! Under Jewish law a woman is in an inferior position to a man who is placed in a similar situation, with his spouse incarcerated in a mental hospital. A Jewish wife cannot divorce her mentally ill spouse, nor can she get permission to marry someone else. Under Jewish law, divorce is a legal act requiring understanding, freewill and agreement, which a spouse who is incurably ill with a mental illness is incapable of. Thus, divorce is out, and also for a man, whose wife is similarly afflicted. There is, however, a major difference; a man whose wife is afflicted, can apply to the rabbinical court for permission to marry another woman.
The only option for a woman in the predicament mentioned is to live with another man, as common-law husband and wife, and have a property relations’ agreement drawn up professionally, setting out their mutual rights and obligations.

My husband is addicted to hard drugs and takes them in front of the children. I told him I want a divorce. He refuses to discuss the subject, saying he loves me, wants to keep our marriage and will ‘get better’. Can the rabbinical court force him to give me a divorce ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
Yes – the rabbinical court can pass a judgment obliging a drug addict to divorce his wife if he cannot rehabilitate himself, but it is likely to give him the opportunity to do so first.
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