Secular Law & Religious Law: Divorce in the Jewish Communities - DuPage County Divorce Attorney | Bloomingdale Family Law Lawyers
Button 1 Button 2 Button 3 Button 4 Button 5 Button 6
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
630-932-9100
Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
630-932-9100
Menu
DuPage County Attorneys

LOMBARD

900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100

BLOOMINGDALE

134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761

ST. CHARLES

333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600

CHICAGO

105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100

Secular Law & Religious Law: Divorce in the Jewish Communities

Posted on in Family Law
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Print

Lombard family law attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, religious law, secular law, Jewish marriages, religion and divorceIn the United States, there is a firm commitment to keeping religion out of its legislative affairs. All religious issues are generally tempered by standards that the Supreme Court has set to help balance religious ideas against secular interests. However, in situations of the family, where religion is closely tied to the concept of the family, the lines become more blurry. Divorce and religion, for example, are generally two concepts that are mutually exclusive, especially in the Judeo-Christian ideology. But where does religion and the law meet? How can the law be utilized in family issues arising in a religious home?

Jewish Divorce: The Getting of the Get

Recently, family law practitioners have been attempting to intervene in Jewish divorces. Though not necessarily encouraged in Judaism, the religion anticipates the possibility that divorce may be a necessity. Jewish marriages are commenced by a marriage contract, known as a ketubah, which defines the responsibilities of the husband to the wife. In the Jewish religion, a wife cannot independently divorce her husband; her husband must provide her with a get, which voids the marriage contract and releases the wife from the marriage. Though this has a similar foundation as the divorce procedures currently in place in the secular world, the difference is that there is no process in the Jewish world by which a wife may force her husband into providing her with a get, thus leaving her at the mercy of a potentially spiteful husband. Married women who are trapped within the marriage are known as agunot.

American Women Trapped in Marriage with Little Recourse

U.S. courts have chosen to generally stay out of resolving the issues posed to Jewish women trapped in a marriage; the First Amendment prohibits the courts from involving themselves in purely religious affairs and secular court rulings have little bearing in the religious communities. Some less religious Jewish communities may have the discretion to follow civil decisions provided by the court, but more religious Jewish communities still require some type of religious court decision. This leaves a vacuum for women who cannot utilize civil courts and have no access to religious courts as they would in other societies that do not believe in the separation of church and state.

U.S. Court Involvement Limited but Successful

There has been some success in freeing these women from this type of marriage in New York. In 2001, the New York Supreme Court judge administered civil damages against the husband, citing the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Though this was a success, the intentional infliction of emotional distress ground may only be used in limited circumstances, and has only had traction in New York.

Secular Legal Solutions to Mend the Rift between Secular Law and Religious Law

There are secular solutions, however, to empower Jewish women caught between religious laws and secular ones. Though more possible than not, these methods are by no means fool-proof.

  • In conservative Jewish communities, an annulment from a Rabbi may be permitted. The Rabbi, through the annulment, withdraws his consent of the marriage if the husband refuses to provide a get. This, however, is not adopted by the orthodox community.

  • In reformed and reconstructionist communities, a civil divorce may be permitted.

  • As for orthodox communities, prenuptial agreements have become a common practice whereby the secular or a designated religious authority may step in on behalf of the wife.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Illinois

Marital issues may arise in both religious and secular families, and may be difficult to resolve. If you and your spouse are considering whether a divorce may be in the best interest of your family, it is important to speak with an experienced Lombard family law attorney at the Mevorah Law Offices LLC who can provide you with the necessary legal counsel to help you decide. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Latest Blog Posts

Archives

  • DuPage County Divorce Lawyers
  • Elite Lawyers
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • Top 40 Under 40
  • 2015 Top 40 Lawyers Under 40
  • Super Lawyers
  • Better Business Bureau

Let us start helping you with a FREE initial consultation.

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.
*
*
*

One Stop For All Your Legal Needs

Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.

Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.

Client Focused Representation

Our practice is focused on meeting your needs with flexible hours and locations to serve you:

  • Free initial consultations
  • Saturday and evening appointments available
  • Home and hospital visits if your injuries prevent you from traveling
  • Multiple locations throughout Chicagoland
  • Veteran trial attorneys
  • Experienced negotiators
  • Payment plans available
  • Cash, check, or credit card accepted