Justice Ministry seeks automatic prenups

Justice Ministry seeks automatic prenups

Minister Tzipi Livni suggests marriage registrars be required to present agreement in order to reduce 'get' refusal

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative. A wedding. (Shutterstock via JTA)
Illustrative. A wedding. (Shutterstock via JTA)

Future legislation may require rabbis appointed as marriage registrars to offer couples a prenuptial agreement, in order to prevent men from refusing to grant a bill of divorce to their wives should the couple part.

In a memorandum issued Wednesday for the review of Knesset legislators, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni suggested that a prenuptial agreement — either an official version provided by the Justice Ministry, or a different version drawn up individually — be presented to every couple that arrives at the marriage registrar’s office.

“The prenuptial agreement was instituted by great rabbis and Torah scholars throughout the world,” Livni’s memorandum read.

The proposed legislation would provide the spouse opposed to the divorce a period of six months in order to negotiate with his or her partner.

According to Jewish law, a woman who is refused a get by her husband is considered an aguna, a chained woman, and is forbidden to remarry.

In late 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that husbands who refuse to grant a bill of divorce, known in Jewish law as a get to their wives can be imprisoned for indefinite periods.

A case that had been ongoing for 12 years brought about the ruling, which challenged a law that had only allowed for recalcitrant spouses to be slapped with up to 10 years behind bars.

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