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The minor fell pregnant and wanted to marry her minor spouse – what did the court rule?

A minor girl aged 16 and a half and a minor boy aged 17 and a half, who knew each other for about 4 months, filed a claim to the family court in Haifa, requesting permission to marry, after they found out that the girl is pregnant and due to the fact that her family will not recognize her, if she is not married by Jewish law.In Israel, the law forbids marriage under the age of 18 years and states that the Family Court can issue a permit for minors to marry if they are above the age of 16 years and taking in to account special circumstances to do with the benefit of the minors.The minors approached the Rabbinate and were referred to the Family Court to get a permit to marry.The court referred the minors to Social Workers from the Ministry of Welfare's evaluation. The social workers felt that the young couple is immature and not ready form marriage and raising a baby and that the marriage will not be in their best interest. The survey submitted to the court showed that the minors both come from a difficult background of broken families, with financial difficulties violence and other problems.Justice Hila Gurevitz Sheinfeld, from the Family Court from Haifa, after hearing the minors and examining the recommendation of the social workers representing the state, rejected the request to receive a permit to marry on the grounds that there are no special circumstances relating to the benefit of the minors which will justify issuing a permit for their marriage.The judge ruled that the couple is not ready to cope with the relationship, the responsibility and raising a baby and that they do not understand the commitment required from them. Their personal complex family background of each of the minors does not form a basis for managing building a family at such a young age and the marriage will not serve their best interests.The judge stated in her ruling that: "The legislature saw fit to prevent juvenile marriages, that the parties are not ready for…Marriage is one of the most important decisions in a person's life. Getting married is a decision that affects the whole course of a person's life and one must ensure that this decision is made intelligently, voluntary and genuinely, and not under pressure. It is the society's responsibility to take care of the children, who sometimes, wish to marry due to short-term reasons (such as shame and guilt) and under pressure from the families and society".

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