Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, released a memo this week regarding the bill to amend the rules pertaining to marriage and divorce, which is designed to provide a solution to the problem of get refusal and the continuation of proceedings before the rabbinical courts, through the means of a pre-nuptial agreement.
Today in Israel there is a harsh reality, where thousands of couples find themselves, especially women, in a state of limbo even though it is clear that their marriage is over.
In a situation of get refusal, a woman finds herself in a legal trap where the divorce is delayed in the rabbinical courts and forced, in order to obtain a divorce, to make concessions regarding her rights under civil law as part of the divorce agreement.
According to the proposed law, the marriage registrar will offer couples to sign a pre-nuptial agreement, according to a text to be prescribed by the Minister of Justice or that the couple agreed upon, after consulting an expert in Jewish law.
A prenuptial agreement stipulates that a spouse who is not willing to respect the fundamental right of autonomy of their partner and “chain” her to remain in a marriage by force, will, under the agreement, have to pay alimony. However, the law gives the spouse who wants to continue the marriage, a period of six months, or a longer period with the consent of her spouse, to talk with his partner and to attempt to reach an agreement through the Support Unit in the Family Court or mediation.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni: “The current situation, where women can find themselves held captive by their husbands and waive their rights just to be free from the yoke of marriage – a situation which, unfortunately, is not theoretical, but happens to too many women – is a situation that cannot continue in a democratic state. This law will correct the distortion, and ensure that the laws of Judaism do not receive a narrow and strict interpretation, be exploited and harm women.”
This comes to light at the same time that Gital Dodelson, the famous Aguna case that has come to the fore in recent months, finally received her get.
In addition, Rachel Levmore, head of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, has just published an article investigating the way the small Jewish community in Uruguay is utilizing, to great effect, the pre-nuptial agreement.
All positive steps for the whole of Klal Yisrael!