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Marriage and Divorce

Divorce Procedure

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I am considering divorce and want to know what my obligations will be afterwards towards my ex-wife and our children. I agree that she should have custody of the children as they are young. We are both Jewish.

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
under Jewish law once a man is divorced he is under no financial obligation to support his ex-wife, though he can agree to do so. He is obliged to give her maintenance during the marriage if they were married in a Jewish religious ceremony.
Regarding the children, Jewish law places the burden of child maintenance on the father, solely until the minors are 15, at which point the mother may have to participate ,until they are 18, depending on the circumstances. During compulsory army service a child is still entitled to some maintenance.
In relation to other financial committments, it depends on whether the husband and wife make an agreement covering property or whether the court decides to divide up your marital property for them.

How can a party proceed with divorce if the other spouse denies that their private wedding ceremony took place,and claims the ‘Ketuba’ is a forgery ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
If there were guests who were present at the alleged marriage ceremony then they can give evidence as to its existence. This happened in an unusual case before the Rehovot Rabbinical Court in a few years ago where the wife wanted to divorce because of her husband’s adultery . The wife claimed they were married in a private ceremony before two witnesses . The husband, who entered the court room waving a document from the Interior Ministry where he was registered as single, denied this and refused to give the court contact numbers of his relatives that she said attended. The rabbinical court eventually issued orders compelling them to attend and they verified the wife’s version of events. The husband then admitted that he had married his wife in a private ceremony and that he had committed adultery.
The rabbinical court held that the couple were married and passed a divorce judgment based on the husband’s admission of adultery . In the light of his non-attendance at part of the previous hearings, the rabbinical court gave an order for him to attend the divorce ceremony . It also held that it would consider awarding costs against him for prolonging the process and not attending some of the hearings.

Does a woman who converts to Judaism but marries only in a civil ceremony abroad and not in a religious ceremony need a ‘get’ to marry under Jewish law ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews

Much depends on the particular circumstances. Normally two Jews who marry in a civil ceremony abroad still have to go through the rabbinical court if they wish to divorce as a ‘doubting’ get may be required.

Will a rabbinical court dealing with a plea to oblige or compel a party to divorce allow him/her to condition his/her consent on the other agreeing to forego child custody ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews
No – Custody claims are independent and should not be given any weight in a divorce hearing over whether to oblige or compel a party to divorce, according to a Greater Rabbinical Curt ruling.

Can a rabbinical court order “Shlom Bayit” (marital reconciliation ) and not at a hearing because the husband asks the wife, to forgive him for being violent, and Jewish law obliges her to accept his apology ?

Marriage and Divorce Divorce Between Jews

Yes, in certain circumstances, but no, in others. Although proven violence is a ground for divorce under Jewish law, if the husband files for ‘shlom bayit’ (marital re-conciliation) at the rabbinical court, it has discretion over the matter. It can order him to divorce, recommend him to do so, or even order marital re-conciliation, depending on its perception of the circumstances .

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