Israeli High Court makes rare intervention in Rabbinical divorce ruling
The High Court blocked the release of a man jailed for refusing to divorce his wife, newspaper Haaretz reports. The Supreme Rabbinical Court – the country’s highest religious court – had planned to release the man if his wife did not withdraw a lawsuit for damages she had issued against her husband.
The case concerned a couple who originally separated in 2002. The wife filed for divorce but the husband would not consent. Under traditional Jewish law, the husband’s consent is required to issue a ‘get’ (divorce document).
Couples who divorce under civil law will still be considered married under Jewish law without the issue of a ‘get’.
After four years, the couple’s local rabbinical court ruled that the husband was obligated to issue a divorce, but he responded by making his conditions for granting a divorce even more difficult to meet.
Eventually, the wife filed the civil lawsuit in 2010. In October last year, the rabbinical court jailed the husband for his continuing failure to grant the divorce. Then in December the Supreme Rabbinical Court intervened, saying that although the husband deserved his sentence, he would nevertheless be released if the woman did not withdraw her lawsuit. They claimed that the suit amounted to interference with both the discretion of the rabbinical court and the husband’s freedom to issue the ‘get’ document.
The wife appealed to the civil Supreme Court, and Justice Uzi Vogelman issued an temporary injunction, ruling that the man must stay behind bars until his wife’s complaint could be fully considered.
Vogelman’s ruling surprised the rabbinical court. Haaretz quotes an unnamed source saying:
“This has no precedent. While there have been past attempts, the High Court has never interfered in a din Torah [religious court case] and the way in which the batei din [rabbinical courts] interpret Torah law.”
Photo of the Supreme Court of Israel by Almog via Wikipedia
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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