Civil Divorce/Civil Get

The Divorce/Get Process

THE GETT Process

A Get is a legal document that terminates the marriage according to Jewish law.  It identifies the parties, the Hebew date, the place where the Get is written and the intent to divorce according to Jewish law.  No further identifying information is provided. The Get document has merely 12 lines and it mentions nothing about the grounds for divorce.  The document is prepared by a scribe, in the presence of 2 witnesses.  The procedure is complete when the tribunal of 3 rabbis witnesses the giving of the Get to the wife, by her husband.  In some cases, the Get involves proxies who are appointed in advance to represent either the husband or wife.

The Get procedure takes approximately 60-90 minutes and it involves a determination of the Hebrew names (if any) of the two parties.  Since the Get is a legal document, it is important that the Beth Din which performs the Get ritual be one which is universally acknowledged to be authoritative.  Most major cities have such a Beth Din.  You may contact us for assistance in this area.

Since the parties to the Get are all male, with the exception of the wife, it is recommended that a female friend accompany the wife to the Get procedure, for emotional support.

It is obligatory that both the husband and wife participate willingly in the Get process.  Several laws exist in various states that deal with the obligation of Jewish families to comply with the Get Process.


Each of the 50 states has its own set of procedures for the Divorce process.  It is therefore only possible to outline a divorce process that will cover all eventualities.  The most prevalent form of divorce is based on No-Fault.  This means that there are simply differences between the parties that has led to the decision to divorce.  No-Fault divorce takes away the incentive to find "fault" as the basis for the break-up. 

The divorce process usually begins with a Complaint for Divorce that is served on the defendant.  The Court rules determine how matters proceed after this point.  Most divorces do lead, eventually, to a divorce agrement.  However, the reason mediation is suggested is that this process leads to an agreement by way of direct dialogue between husband and wife.  Such a process is less costly, less traumatic, and more civil than is any other process based on the "battle of attorneys". 

Once the agreement is made, the Final Hearing becomes rather straight-forward.  In those few cases where a trial is needed, the financial and human toll, on both parties, can be quite great.  Worst of all, trials have a very negative impact on children. 

In 1985, New York passed a Get Law which required the Plaintiff in the divorce to declare that all barriers to the remarriage had been removed.  In 1992, a second Get Law was passed which allowed the Judge to take into consideration the failure to grant a Get when making monetary decisions.

The Get Law has its unique aspects.  A party getting divorced in a state which has a Get Law should ensure that their attorney is up-to-date on all the ramifications that flow from the failure to cooperate in the Get process.


The word Agunah refers to a woman (possibly a man) who has been denied the right to a Get.  This situation is tragic and religiously inappropriate.  There are various organizations that deal with the issue of Agunah.  Ask us for a referral to such an organization if this situation applies to you.

If you are in an Agunah situation, there is a newly formed organization that stands ready to help you. The organization is called JPA (Jewish Professionals Agunah Project). You can find information about JPA on the Contact page (last page with the Contact Form) or by linking with the JPA Blogsite at www.AgunahProject.Wordpress.Com.


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