Husband grants wife California divorce but not Jewish divorce

27 Mar Husband grants wife California divorce but not Jewish divorce

While bringing a marital relationship to an end in a divorce may be a difficult decision and can involve certain procedures that need to be followed, the decree of divorce, once granted by law, is usually considered final and irrevocable. Indeed, it is the finality of the process that makes the decision a difficult one to make, as opposed to one that can stem from mere whim or frivolity.

There may, however, be certain complexities involved, when the marriage of a couple, besides being governed by the civil law of the state where the marriage has taken place, is also subjected to the personal family law dictated by the religion that the couple chooses to follow. Even when the couple has obtained a decree of divorce under the civil law, they may still remain married from the perspective of their religion, which makes it a rather complicated situation if one of them chooses to get married again.

Such a situation has indeed taken place in reality when a Jewish individual, who had been divorced from his wife under the Californian civil law for as long as seven years, chose to get remarried. Apparently, he had not granted the divorce to his wife in the manner required by the Orthodox Jewish religion and without it the wife is forbidden to remarry under the religion.

According to the supporters of the wife, the husband had been demanding a high sum of money, as well as full custody of their son, in exchange for the divorce. The reason why he could wield such power is that Orthodox Jewish religion only allows the husband to grant a religious divorce. The Jewish community has been in an uproar following the husband’s recent decision to remarry. Although the religion forbids bigamy, it is allowed under certain circumstances if the husband could get the permission of one hundred rabbis to do so. Such apparent incongruities between personal law and family law issues and the disputes resulting there from are perhaps all the more reasons why divorcing couples may benefit from getting all of the right information about their options.

Source: The New York Times, “Unwilling to Allow His Wife a Divorce, He Marries Another,” Jennifer Medina, March 21, 2014

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