Prenuptial Agreement

Getting married?  Mazal tov!

The time has come to give an additional form of expression to your love for one another, and lay down the foundations for a relationship based on equity and mutual respect, even in times of crisis.

In light of the growing number of recalcitrant spouses who use the get (Jewish divorce document) to extort their partner in marriage, we very much encourage couples not to get married without signing a halakhic prenuptial agreement.

Such an agreement may save you from becoming a mesurav/mesurevet get : a spouse who is refused his/her get.

What is the difference between an agunah and someone who is being denied a get?

  • An agunah is a woman whose husband has run away or has disappeared and whose whereabouts are unknown, or one who cannot grant a get due to his mental or physical condition. This means that any relations the agunah might have with another man other than her husband are considered to be adulterous according to Jewish Law, and in the event that she bears children as a result of these relations, such children are considered bastards (mamzerim), and as such are limited in those they may marry according to halakha. A man in a similar situation may get permission to marry a second wife and can therefore go on with his life as usual.  However, for a woman this can mean a life in bondage.
  • Get-refusal can be the fate of any person, man or woman, who is confronted by a recalcitrant spouse who persistently refuses to grant a get in order to extract various concessions from the other party with regards to custody, alimony or the division of property. The number of cases involving get-refusal is alarmingly high, and affects both men and women indiscriminately. However, when a woman is refused her get, she becomes an aguna by definition.

What is a halakhic prenuptial agreement?

The halakhic prenuptial agreement is aimed at preventing get-refusal and get-based extortion, and is founded on the principle of mutual respect and reciprocity.  The idea is that after a set amount of time, which is fixed in advance for the purpose of preserving the marriage, if one of the parties should nevertheless insist on a divorce and the other party refuses to grant/accept a get, the binding mechanism of the agreement is put into effect, and the recalcitrant party is required to pay a predetermined sum of money to the other party until such time as s/he sets his/her spouse free of the marriage.

The abovementioned mechanism renders get-refusal an unprofitable endeavor, and as such has proven to be a very efficient tool in preventing such refusal.

One can also sign the “Agreement for Mutual Respect” after getting married.

The agreement is based on a well-formulated, halakhic-based mechanism, approved by a wide range of Orthodox rabbis.

The Security Deed and Get Authorization allows the husband to appoint a “get emissary” who can, if needed, grant the wife a get on the husband’s behalf. The emissary will only make use of the Security Deed if the husband is incompetent to grant his wife the get himself, be it for reasons of physical or mental health. You can sign the Security Deed after the marriage, in addition to the agreement.

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