The Beth Din of America arranges Jewish divorces through the get (writ of divorce) process. The Beth Din ensures that the get procedure is carried out in a sensitive and caring manner, respects the dignity of all participants in the process and adheres to the highest standards of Jewish law to ensure the universal acceptance of gittin administered under its auspices. The Beth Din also takes an active role in resolving cases involving spouses who refuse or are reluctant to deliver or receive a get.
The Beth Din of America is careful to treat every person with sensitivity and compassion, and tries to make the get proceeding as smooth and as comfortable as possible for the participating parties. The Beth Din has women on its staff who are available to provide emotional and moral support to women who come to the Beth Din for a get. Participants are also free to bring a friend to accompany them during the get proceeding.
A standard get procedure is non-adversarial and does not involve litigation. If necessary, the get process can be arranged in a manner that does not require the husband and wife to appear together.
Why is a Get Necessary?
In order to end a Jewish marriage, halacha (Jewish law) requires a get. Without the get (absent the death of one of them), both husband and wife may not remarry under Jewish law.
The Get Process
The standard get process is conducted in English, Hebrew or, if necessary, in the spoken language of the parties. It takes approximately one hour. The officiating rabbi asks the parties some standard questions to ascertain their names (since the get document must accurately identify the parties) and their desire to proceed with the get process. The get is written by a scribe and signed by two authorized witnesses. The husband then presents the get to the wife in the presence of the witnesses, thus effecting the divorce under Jewish law. Once the get has been received by the wife, the get parchment is cut by the supervising rabbi and it is retained in the Beth Din files. The Beth Din issues a certificate (the ptur) to each party, generally after the civil divorce is finalized, indicating that a get has been given and accepted and that each party is free to remarry.
Contested Get Cases
The Beth Din does everything in its power to avoid agunah cases (i.e. cases involving a spouse who refuses to give a get, notwithstanding the functional end of the marriage), and specializes in the resolution of get cases involving a recalcitrant spouse who refuses or is reluctant to give or receive a get.
In addition to the get process, the Beth Din maintains an active practice in matrimonial cases dealing with property division, custody and visitation. The Beth Din will convene a din torah (Jewish arbitration proceeding) in accordance with the requirements of Jewish law, comprised of expert dayanim (judges) experienced in adjudicating divorce cases. If necessary, the Beth Din will include a child psychologist on the panel of dayanim or as an expert witness to assist the panel in deciding custody and visitation matters. For more information regarding the din torah process, click here.
The Beth Din of America Prenuptial Agreement
The Beth Din of America Prenuptial Agreement is the most effective tool available to solve the agunah problem. The Beth Din strongly urges its use by all couples who are getting married. For more information regarding the Beth Din of America Prenuptial Agreement, click here.