There are several steps involved in divorce. The Paperweight Trust can assist with forms and paperwork and help you with the civil part of the process. Go to the organisation's website and visit the Family Law section if you need guidance in this area.
If you were married under Jewish law, regardless of your religious conviction, you will need to obtain a Jewish religious divorce (a get). There are some variations in the process of obtaining a get; these variations are based on your level of observance—Liberal, Masorti, Reform or United Synagogue.
What is a get?
A get is a divorce based on Jewish law. For the get to be granted, you and your spouse must both give consent (although the consent of the wife is not a Biblical requirement). Unlike civil divorce, you will not require any grounds, such as unreasonable behaviour or adultery.
Why do I need a get?
The civil court will dissolve your marriage in the eyes of the state, but to be considered divorced and to be able to remarry within the Jewish faith, you must also have a get from a Jewish court of law (Beth Din—a rabbinical court consisting of three rabbis).
If you are Halachically Jewish and wish to remarry under Orthodox Jewish law, the get must be granted by an Orthodox Beth Din. Under Orthodox Jewish law, failure to obtain a get may have further consequences. For instance, the children of future relationships will be considered illegitimate and will not be allowed to marry in a synagogue.
This is a complex issue and you should, therefore, seek more advice from the rabbinic authority under whom you were married.
How do I obtain a get?
You will need to contact the appropriate rabbinical authority if you want to obtain a get. The procedure may vary depending on the authority:
- Liberal Judaism: Life Cycle section covers divorce
- Masorti Judaism: Lifecycle Events section looks at getting married
- United Synagogue: Divorce
Where can I get support?
If you are going through a divorce or have been divorced, you may find it helpful to get in touch with others in a similar position via support or social groups. The following groups and organisations offer support and/or social events for divorcees within the Jewish community:
- Jewish Unity for Multiple Parenting
- Mediation services, from the Jewish Marriage Council
- North West Jewish Singles (NWJS)
- Singular Challenge, from Jewish Care
Find out more
Follow the links below for more detailed information on Jewish divorce:
- Dating after divorce, from JDate.co.uk
- Divorce in Judaism, from Chabad.org
- Divorce in Judaism, by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
- The Fundamentals of Jewish Divorce Law, from Ohr Somayach
- Getting Your Get, where there is a free download by Sharon Faith and Deanna Levine
- Jewish Attitude Toward Divorce, from Judaism 101
- Jewish Divorce and the Role of Beit Din, by Rabbi Jonathan Reiss, from the Jewish Law Blog
- Jewish Divorce 101, from Chabad.org