Being Divorced in the Orthodox Community

While divorce for any couple in New York can be stressful, not all couples encounter the same challenges. For members of the Orthodox Jewish faith, for instance, marriage is much more than a civil union. Considering both the religious and civil aspects of divorce is vital for Orthodox couples in New York.

Orthodox Jewish Divorce Goes Beyond Civil Divorce

Because Orthodox Jewish weddings are a religious affair, getting a decree of divorce from a New York court is not enough to sever the marital bond. You must undergo a religious divorce ceremony, and the woman must be given a Get by her husband before the marriage is formally dissolved in the eyes of the faith. 

A “Get” is a scroll-like divorce document that contains words that officially end a couple’s marriage. Without the husband giving his wife a Get and the wife willingly accepting it, the couple is still considered married. 

Obtaining this religious divorce can also be an essential part of obtaining a civil divorce. Under New York law, you may not obtain a divorce from your partner if there exists some circumstance that would prevent your partner from remarrying. 

Because Orthodox Jewish couples are considered married until the woman receives a Get, failing to complete the religious divorce process means your civil divorce case may be stalled as well.

Other Consequences for Failing to Obtain a Get

Both the husband and wife can be impacted if they remain in the Orthodox Jewish community but fail to follow through with the Get ceremony. Since they are still married in the eyes of the Orthodox community, they would not be permitted to remarry any other person. 

If there are children of an unwed couple, this can also impact ones rights to inherit property under Jewish law.

Finally, without a Get, entering into another intimate relationship with a new partner could be regarded as adultery. This can result in consequences within the Orthodox community.

How to Divorce in the Orthodox Community

Either the woman or the man can request a Get ceremony to start the process of obtaining a religious divorce. The request is made to a Beit Din, or Jewish court, and the process is overseen by a rabbi who acts in a judicial capacity. If there are concerns of spousal abuse or domestic violence, the two spouses do not need to appear together.

At the Beit Din, the husband directs the scribe to compose the Get in the presence of two witnesses. The Get is then given to the woman, also in the presence of two witnesses. 

The rabbi overseeing the ceremony may ask the couple several questions while the Get is composed. These questions ensure the Get contains accurate information and that both husband and wife enter the Get ceremony freely. The ceremony ends with the wife accepting the Get willingly in the presence of two witnesses.

A Knowledgeable New York Divorce Lawyer Is Crucial

When you require both a civil and a religious divorce in New York, the process can feel overwhelming. A seasoned attorney with knowledge of both types of divorce procedures can help keep your divorce on track and your rights protected.

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