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Jewish Divorce in England and Wales Explained

In Judaism divorce is seen as a last resort but sadly sometimes necessary. When a couple contemplates separating they will visit their Rabbi who will usually suggest counselling prior to any further discussion about divorce.

But if this counselling doesn’t work and the couple still wishes to separate they need to follow a few guidelines starting with obtaining a Get and the role of the Beth Din.

What is a Get?

A Get is a personally written document unique to the couple that states that the woman is now free to marry another man. It is an agreement of separation drawn up by the couple’s Rabbi and signed by both parties.

The Get is essential for a Jewish Religious Divorce based on the Torah. Under Jewish Law there is no requirement for either party to establish grounds for divorce such as adultery, cruelty or unreasonable behaviour. All the husband and wife need to do is consent to the divorce as they did when the marriage was created.

Why is a Get Necessary?

As far as Jewish law is concerned a civil divorce is not sufficient to dissolve a marriage. The Get is essential as without it the couple is still deemed married. There have been problems with more liberal Jews as they have a civil divorce but not obtained a valid religious divorce. And therefore if a women remarries without the Get her second marriage is deemed adulterous and her children illegitimate under Jewish practices.

Who Needs a Get?

Anyone that has been married under Jewish Law needs a Get to dissolve the marriage. But in Jewish Law the simple act of setting up a home and living together creates a marital relationship. So a Get is needed to break up the relationship. This is also the case for and Registry Office marriages and marriages conducted with non-orthodox ceremonies.

What is the Beth Din Role?

The Beth Din, or the rabbinical court of Judaism, doesn’t grant the Get but oversees the procedure of writing the Get on behalf of the husband, making sure many detailed requirements are complied with, and the passing of it to the wife.

The Beth Din also provides the forum of three judges, or Dayanim, needed for the Get to be valid.

For more information about the role of the Beth Din read our blog What is the Role of the Beth Din in Jewish Divorce.

If you are considering separating from your spouse or long term partner Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer both flexible pricing and fixed fees for family law and divorce legal services.

For an initial consultation call the Family Solicitors at Slater and Gordon UK on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will call you.

Slater and Gordon have over 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Derby, Merseyside, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.

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