alt text Prenuptial Agreements More Details
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FAQ

  1. What is an "Agunah"?
    It is a Hebrew word that literally means 'anchored' and which is used in Jewish law/ Halacha to describe a Jewish woman who is essentially chained or "anchored" to her marriage against her will.
    The core of the problem:
    For a Jewish divorce to be effective, Jewish law requires that a man grant his wife a Get (a Jewish writ of divorce) of his own free will. If he chooses not to grant her request, or if he sets conditions, even if there is probable cause, the court cannot grant the Get in his stead.
  2. Why is a Get important?
    It is important particularly for women as without a Get a woman cannot remarry and any children she might have with another man, even if he is single, would be considered a Mamzer (a child born as a result of a forbidden relationship) and as such the child is barred from marrying another fellow Jew forever!
    It is important to note that men too need their wives to agree to receive the Get before the divorce can be final, but in their case there are loopholes that enable them to remarry that are not available to women such as a "heter 100 rabbanim" (a special permit of 100 Rabbis that allow a man to marry without his wife having agreed to receive the Get ) in addition to the fact that any children a married man would have with a single woman are not considered a Mamzer or illegitimate in any way.
  3. Why is the issue of a Jewish divorce relevant to you?
    All Jewish women – and men - who marry traditionally, according to Orthodox Jewish Law/ Halacha, both in Israel and throughout the diaspora must have a Get to end their marriage in the eyes of Jewish Law, a civil divorce – where it exists – is not considered a divorce. 
  4. What is a prenuptial agreement to minimize Get refusal?
    This is not a financial agreement although it can be part of a financial prenuptial. This is an agreement signed before marriage that was developed in order to create a financial incentive to give (and receive) the Get, thus minimizing the occurrence of  Get refusal. According to this agreement, if the husband refuses to give the Get, he is obligated to pay increased spousal support to his wife until he gives her a Get (and if the wife refuses to accept the Get she too can be obligated to pay her husband a monthly sum until she agrees). This type of agreement obligates the couple both in a contractual-legal manner and by Jewish law as well as giving the Rabbinical Courts legal authority to act as arbitrators in the case.
  5. Why do you need this agreement if you have a Ketubah?
    Indeed the original purpose of the traditional ketubah and the prenuptial agreement to avoid Get recalcitrance are similar –to protect the traditionally weaker partner in the marriage – the women. The Ketubah was a bulwark against men hastily divorcing their wives as it entitled the woman not only to financial support during the marriage but also to a significant lump sum post-divorce. Today, this document no longer protects women's modern financial rights- as they are bread winners in their own right - and it is not relevant when women initiate the divorce proceedings.
    Throughout Europe, although religious marriage is not obligatory, most Jewish couples marry in a traditional Orthodox ceremony. The problem is that in the diaspora, the Orthodox Rabbinical Courts have no jurisdiction on the issue unless the couples contractually agree to give them authority. This prenuptial agreement gives the Rabbinical court authority whereas the Ketubah does not.
  6. What is in this prenuptial agreement?
    The prenuptial agreement is a monetary agreement, designed to both speed up the process of a Jewish divorce and avoid Get refusal as well as basing the process on values of mutual respect, fairness and equality. 
    Some of the main points of this agreement are:
    (1)    The obligation to pay the monthly sum only starts running after one spouse seeks a divorce and informs the other in writing and a period of X months pass without the granting of the Get.
    (2)    The monetary component of the agreement adopts the legal arrangement of equitable distribution of property. This takes effect regardless of whether or not the Get is refused.
    (3)    Some agreements also encourage marriage counselling.
  7. What barriers might exist to couples signing such agreements?
    -We do not need this agreement because we love each other;
    We do not want this to spoil the atmosphere;
    -My boyfriend/his parents will think I don't trust him to do the right thing;
    -We will never hurt each other;
    -It is not legally/Halachically legitimate
  8. Why should we sign this agreement?
    It is a form of insurance, like a seatbelt, that we might not necessarily make use of, but which demonstrates the safeguards to protect the partners of a marriage from each other in the case of separation resentment.
    Couples who sign the prenuptial agreement to avoid get recalcitrance are less likely to reach the point of Get recalcitrance at the time of divorce.
    The signing of this type of agreement is a declaration that your marriage will be based on the principles of equality, love, trust equality and mutual respect.
    Education – you may not need it – but if you turn it into a norm, others that may need it will also sign.
  9. Why is the prenuptial agreement only a partial solution?
    -A financial agreement does not resolve the issue of the personal status of the couple. Giving the Get is still dependent on the good-will of the man.
    -Where the recalcitrant spouse is insolvent – the agreement does not provide an incentive;
    -The agreement does not resolve the plight of the classic Agunah – the woman whose husband is unable or incapable to give her a divorce (in a coma, mentally unfit, etc.) or his whereabouts are unknown;
  10. How do you choose a prenuptial agreement?
    -Ask your Rabbi;
    -Obtain appropriate legal advice;
    -Turn to non-profit organizations that provide assistance;