Israeli Spouses that Refuse to Divorce May Now Face Jail

On Monday, November 14, 2016, the Israeli Justice Ministry announced that spouses refusing to grant a Jewish divorce to their spouse may now face potential incarceration. As we wrote in a prior blog post, Many Israeli Women are Fighting for the Right to Divorce, “upwards of 6,000 women per year in Israel are fighting for the ability to divorce” given that Jewish religious law requires a husband to provide their consent to a divorce.

Since divorces for Jewish citizens in Israel are controlled by religious law, not civil law, the government there has largely been unable to combat the problem of Husbands binding Wives to marriages they no longer desire to be a part of. While there are some examples of wives refusing to allow divorces, the issue has been much more pervasive and damaging for women. According to a Yahoo! News article, the refusal to grant a divorce can even have a lasting impact on children. As the article states, “[i]f [a wife] has a child with another man, he will be considered a ‘bastard’ who will never be able to marry, under Jewish law.”

The Israeli Judicial Ministry’s new order directs members of the civil judiciary to prosecute both men and women who refuse to consent to a divorce. According to the Yahoo! News article, in deciding to step into this legal fray, the Ministry stated that it did so “in order to ‘liberate’ women.”

Courts in the United States do not set forth or adhere to any religious laws or principles for the purposes of obtaining a legal divorce. Rather, each state has specific requirements for granting a divorce within their jurisdiction. In North Carolina, either spouse may seek a divorce judgment so long as one spouse has resided in North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing for divorce and the parties have lived separate and apart with the intent to remain separate and apart for at least 366 days prior to filing.

To speak with a North Carolina Family Law Attorney about what is required to file for divorce in North Carolina, as well as the ramifications of the entry of a Judgment of Absolute Divorce, please call us today at (704) 810-1400 to schedule a confidential consultation.

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