Family Law Advocate in Modiin

Guide for the Perplexed regarding procedures in the family court

Everything you wanted to know about divorce procedures: where do you go, what needs to be done, how do you start a divorce procedure etc. what are the legal procedures in the divorce proses, when is it time to file statements of defense, where do you file for alimony, division of property, custardy over the children etc.

The Family Court’s jurisdiction regards any matter concerning dispute in the family: from a business dispute between brothers who share a business, via fatherhood and motherhood issues, maters of estate and wills and matters regarding divorce such as: visitation rights, alimony, division of property etc.

By Rabbinical Courts Jurisdiction law, the exclusive authority to judge in matters of matrimony and divorce (i.e. the marriage and divorce themselves), is instilled to the Rabbinical Court. The Family Court cannot decide in maters regarding divorce, Gett, domestic peace etc. These matters are in the sole jurisdiction of the Rabbinical Court, as mentioned. In all matters regarding custardy over the children, alimony and division of property there is a corresponding authority between the Family Court and the Rabbinical Court.

How do you start a procedure in the Family Court?

As mentioned above, you cannot file for divorce in the Family Court but it is possible to submit a separate lawsuit where the court is asked to determine in matters related to the divorce.

Of course, it is very important to consult with an expert lawyer in this field of family law so that the latter will draw up the fitting lawsuit and will attach the relevant addendums etc. In a lawsuit, you need to submit affidavits, which, in any case, need an attorney’s signature. The lawsuit should then be submitted to the Rabbinical Court or the Court, according to the rules of local jurisdiction.

In a lawsuit, it is important to describe the background leading to the divorce and to state your demands and your position regarding the lawsuit submitted. If you are filling for alimony, you need to attach a form with your contact info and paychecks from the last year. Alternatively, you can submit an accountant’s statement regarding your income and references to establish the amount of alimony you are claiming.

For example, if there is a concern that one of the spouses will flee the country – one can request for temporary orders in the framework of the lawsuit, such as stay of exit order, injunction, confiscation and any other order required and in the courts’ authority.

The lawsuit should be submitted at the Secretariat of Family Court and the Rabbinical Court. In order to be accepted for registration, you must attach toll payment confirmation and, another condition is a personal commitment to deliver the lawsuit to the spouse, personally or via a currier – and to obtain a delivery receipt.

What should you do if served a lawsuit by a currier?

It is important to understand that, from the moment you are served, time is monitored and counted. First thing, you must file a statement of defense. In alimony claims, this statement should be submitted within 15 days from being served with the lawsuit. In other claims you can submit the defense within 30 days.

This is all the time you have in order to prepare a response to all the claims within the framework of your statement of defense. A separate statement of defense needs to be prepared for each suit filed against you, in it you need to specify the relevant information and attach all relevant documents which will aid in convincing the court of your rightfulness. Attach as many documents as you can to strengthen the probability of your claims.

If you do not file the claim in time you are risking the court not permitting a late submission. In such a case the court can rule on the sole base of the statement of claim, without considering your claims.

Great! The statement of defense has been filed. Now what?

The plaintiff has the right to file a reply to the written defense arguments and issues which were not raised in the statement of defense. After filing the reply, a pre-trial will be scheduled, designed to test and define the dispute between the parties (i.e., what the court should determine and what not) and to explore the possibility to refer the proceedings to an alternative procedure (such as mediation or arbitration).

During this time, if you have not started talking about it yet, it is time to negotiate in order to formulate a divorce agreement. If you submit an agreement to the court during the first hearing and even before, as long as it complies with the law and public policy, it will be confirmed and validated as a ruling. This will end the legal procedure. If you are not able to reach an agreement, the legal procedure will continue.

About the judiciary ways

Make sure you comply with a few basic rules:

Legal proceedings are inherently complex and require quite a bit of legal knowledge and experience. Therefore, it is not recommended to start legal proceedings without legal advice or full support of a lawyer. Attempt to operate without a lawyer may lead to failure of the procedure.

Any appeal to the Rabbinical Court or the Family Court shall be done only by a suitable application in writing. Any decision given by the Rabbinical Court or the Court can be changed only by a request to appeal, or a written appeal (it varies depending on the type of decision and request) to be submitted to the certified instance.

During the first stage, the Rabbinical Court or the Court will examine the nature of the dispute between the parties. They will further more determine regarding requests for preliminary injunctions for the time of the procedure. Finally, they will encourage the parties to reach an agreement that will make the hearing redundant. If an agreement has not been reached by the end of this stage, a time for evidence hearing will be set – i.e. a time where the parties will present there evidence; after that a verdict will be given.

The time span of the legal process could take range from several months to a few years – all in accordance with the conduct of the parties (for example, filing of many applications, requests for postponement, etc.) and subject to the complexity of the file and the number of subjects that need to be discussed.

What are Evidence Hearing?

Most of the procedure is devoted to evidence hearings. During these hearings the parties present all their evidence supporting their claim. In order to save time, the parties first present main testimony affidavits – of their testimony and of any other witnesses they intend to bring to the court – these affidavits contain all the facts that you rely on in your testimony.

During the evidence hearings the witnesses will be questioned: if a main testimony affidavit has been filed, the witness would be cross-examined by the counterparty and re-examined if needed. If a main testimony affidavit was not filed, there will be a main questioning, prior to the cross-examination, on behalf of the party who summoned the witness. The procedure will continue in this way until all the witnesses are brought before the court. This stage might take a long time during many hearings.

What happens after the conclusion of the evidentiary stage?

At the end of the evidentiary phase the court will set the date by which parties will submit their closing arguments in writing. In these summaries, you must detail how “you fulfilled your promise”, that is how you have established all your arguments aided by witnesses. The summaries must include all the references to your arguments. Once summaries of the parties have been submitted, judgment by the court you approached will be given.

This article is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied on it as such.