Filing for divorce – the gist of the process

Many couples, after considering all possibilities, decide to dismantle their established relationship. This process, divorce, includes dismantling and separating the obligations between the couple in an orderly way till the divorce (Gett) is given by the Rabbinic court. Filing for divorce starts this procedure. I’ll elaborate on this subject, what it includes and where it is dealt with.

What does filing for divorce include?

Filing for divorce has to be done by one of the couple and he/she is the one who initiates the request for divorce. The party who filed is not required to “ask” or inform the other party that he/she has filed for divorce. The claim should include a request to dissolve the marriage in the Rabbinic court, i.e.  receive a Gett and start a new life. Any divorce procedure encompasses decisions that need to be made, especially if there are children in the picture, but not only. The Rabbinic court will not authorize a divorce without these subjects being regulated. For this reason, the “classic” divorce claim includes other claims such as alimony, visitation rights, custody, division of property etc. If the couple have reached an agreement, have signed it and authorized in the Rabbinic or family court, only then one files the claim for divorce and get the agreement authorized by the Rabbinic court and then come to the ceremony of giving the Gett in a short while, sometimes even the same day.

Where do you file for divorce?

The claim can be filed only in the Rabbinic court since it is the only instance that is authorized to approve a divorce. If one wants to file additional claims one can file, separately, to the family court and after receiving a signed ruling, file for divorce at the Rabbinate.  It is important to note that in cases where one of the partners does not want to get a divorce, they can try to get an agreement of domestic peace at the Rabbinic court or to claim for damages in a civil court due to refusal, claim for alimony, aggravation etc.

Since, in Israel, both the family court and the Rabbinic court have parallel jurisdiction regarding claim that are connected to divorce, it is important to choose the best court for you. To achieve that it is advisable to consult with an expert family lawyer so as to get the full and whole information regarding your specific situation. Only then you can plan, with the aid of a lawyer, a wise and useful claim for divorce.