Jewish Divorce Laws

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Jewish divorce laws are based on the traditional religious rules and regulations that describe the establishment of the family and issues related to it. These laws explain the procedure and requirements of a divorce according to the Jewish religion. The divorce procedure is governed by the religious priests instead of the judges.

Certain aspects of Jewish Divorce Laws

  • As per Jewish Divorce Laws, a husband may divorce his wife for no reason or without any reason. Talmud is the oral form of the the traditional law of Jews. It is categorically mentioned in the Talmud, that a husband may divorce his wife just because another woman seems more enticing to him or because his wife spoils his dinner. In all such cases, there is no need of the woman's consent.

  • As per the law, if a wife commits a sexual transgression knowingly, her husband must divorce her, -even if he is of the opinion that his wife should be forgiven.

  • Thousands of years ago, Judaism accepted the principle of "no-fault" divorce. This religion maintains that instead of residing with each other in an atmosphere of strife and bitterness, it is advisable that the couple divorces. Thus, though a divorce is not preferable, it is not entirely declined by the religion.

  • In the marriage contract (ketubah) of the Jews, the husband agrees to pay a large sum of money to his wife in case of divorce. Except when the wife commits misconduct, the husband is supposed to act as per the ketubah.

  • If a woman is divorced and she marries another man, then her ex-husband cannot remarry her.

  • Men as well as women are allowed to remarry after having a divorce. However, they are prohibited from remarrying each other. Thus, a divorce is a final dissolution of marriage in true sense.

  • A descendant of holy priests called as Kohen is not allowed to marry a divorced person. There are certain rules for marriage of priests. This need to be followed under any circumstances as the priests represent the message of religious texts to the common person.

Jewish divorce laws regarding obtaining a divorce

If the Torah is to be followed, Jews can just write a bill of divorce, hand it over to the wife and ask her to depart. The rabbis developed complicated rules about the procedure of writing the document, delivery and acceptance to avoid the husbands from carelessly divorcing their wives in the absence of due contemplation.

The document handed over by the husband to the wife is called as Sefer Keritut (scroll of cutting off) in the Talmud. Presently, it is generally termed as a 'get'. It has the following features.

  • It does not throw light on the breakdown of the relation. Thus, there are no specifications of the situations between a couple during a divorce.
  • It does not mention any reason for the divorce. The"no-fault" divorce is easily granted without proving any marital fault.
  • It indicates that the woman now has the freedom to marry some other man. But, there is a specific waiting period before remarriage that is informally followed by many people.
  • The husband need not personally deliver the get to his wife. The husband can remain absent for the procedure of divorce.
  • The husband may appoint a messenger to hand over the get if it is undesirable or not feasible to meet his wife.
  • Some Jews adhere to the custom of cutting the get with a knife or scissor after it is written. That is to present that a bond of marriage has been broken finally with a social approval.

A Jewish marriage cannot be considered as dissolved by means of a civil divorce. In the society, a couple is treated as married till the wife is handed over the get. This has led to a grave problem in the society. There are several liberal Jews who do not start with a religiously valid marriage. In course of time, they fail to procure a religiously valid divorce. After such a process, if the woman remarries, then, the second marriage is regarded as an adulterous one in the society. The children of such a marriage are termed as "mamzerim" which means illegitimate or bastards.

So, this is the brief introduction to the Jewish Divorce laws. These laws are prevalent in the countries where the Jew religion is accepted as national religion. However, due to the changes in economical and social atmosphere world-wide, the civil divorce is getting increasing popularity among people.

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