In order to be allowed to divorce (“Get“) in the Rabbinic Court one must have a “legal/”Halahic” reason or pretext. A wish to divorce is not enough – not for a woman and not for a man.
In this article we will deal not only with the list of the legal reasons, but will also go into detail about a few of them in this and the next article on the subject. The list below is not a final/closed list!
Wife’s Pretexts for a divorce:
- Infertility of the husband;
- The husband being unable to have intimate relations with the woman as a result of some kind of disability or illness;
- A husband who refuses to have intimate relations with his wife;
- Extreme negative behavior such as: Insults, Violence, Drug Addiction;
Please note we are not dealing with a one-time behavior but continuous behavior on the husband’s part.
Husband’s Pretexts for a divorce:
- The wife being unable to have intimate relations with the husband as a result of some kind of disability or illness;
- Infertility after 10 years of the marriage;
- The wife causes the husband (on purpose) to “sin” (“Chet“), e.g., she makes no Kosher food,
- Lack of modesty of the wife;
- Insults, Violence, Drug Addiction;
- Act of ugliness (“Maase Kiur“): ugly behaviors that would cause the Court to justify the suspicion that the wife had betrayed (“Zanta“) the husband, although there are no witnesses or “hard evidence” that she did it. In such a case, where it is not possible to proove she did it, the husband is entitled to forgive her and continue to live with her;
- Betrayal (the woman had sexual relations with another man while married): In this case the husband is not permitted to forgive her and he must divorce her (she will not permitted to be married to her husband or marry the man with whom she betrayed the husband);
We will now analyze one of the most common pretexts for a divorce in the Rabbinic Court – The “rebel” (“Mored/Moredet“).
The Rebellious Woman:
- A woman leaving the house of her husband, for reasons that cannot be accepted in the Rabbinical Court;
- A wife who refuses to have intimate relations with her husband will be considered rebellious;
“Kind” of Rebellious Woman:
For her own reasons, she is not ready to move from the place they are living together – she refuses to live in another particular place with her husband;
She refuses to keep living with her husband in the specific place they are now living;
(In both cases it is not relevant if she agrees to keep having intimate relations with him);
The only legal implication on a “kind of rebellious woman” may be her losing her right to receive “wife’s alimony” (“Mezonot Isha“) and in some case she may lose her right for her “Ketuba“.
The Rebellious Husband:
Even when he is capable, the husband refuses to have intimate relations with his wife because he is “mad” at her or because he wants for her to accept the “Get” or because he prefers another woman;
There are no legal (financial) implications regarding the husband, but if found “rebellious”, the woman will be entitled to a “Get” and if the husband refuses he will have to pay her alimony until he finally gives her the “Get“, and in addition she will have a weekly increase in the amount of her “Ketuba” until the husband agrees to give her a “Get“.
The “Mius” Claim/Pretext:
The Hebrew word stands for: My partner “gross me out” – can’t take him/her anymore. Meaning that the partner’s general behavior, or the partner’s physical state, is such that one cannot “get over” it and therefore one does not wish to have any intimate relations with that partner anymore.
This pretext can be used by both sides in the Rabbinic Court.
Please note that betrayal is never a reason to harm one’s right for her/his share in the division of property. In our next article we will deal with the betrayal and its consequences.