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Ohio man refuses wife Jewish divorce; rally planned

This blog focuses on the legal issues related to divorce. But for many people, to end their marriage it is necessary to obtain two divorces: one from the courthouse, and one required by their religion.

Of course, Ohio’s divorce law is the same for everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs and practices. But some major religions require a separate divorce ritual or decree. If you do not obtain a religious divorce, you may still be considered married to your ex in the eyes of your faith, even though you have legally dissolved your marriage.

For instance, among Orthodox Jews, before a couple can be officially divorce, a husband must grant his wife a get, or a religious bill of divorce. But not every Orthodox husband will provide a get, sometimes leading to years of frustration on the part of their wives, who likely wish to move on from their failed marriage, and perhaps get married again.

In Hebrew, this situation is called agunot, and the ex-wife of an Ohio man is currently experiencing it. Her plight has garnered her national support, with a demonstration planned in front of the man’s home for November, according to the Dayton Jewish Observer.

The man and his wife lived in Israel after getting married there in 1990. Seventeen years later, the man left his wife and children, and moved to the U.S. in 2008. Before that, he spent years telling his family that he hated “being a father” and “being tied down by family,” according to one of his children.

However, he has consistently refused to supply a get, despite pressure from various rabbis, preventing his ex-wife from remarrying.

The Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, a New York organization, has gotten involved in this case. They tried talking to the ex-husband, and when that did not work, set up a website in the hopes of shaming him into granting the get.

The site also announces the rally, which is scheduled for Nov. 7.

While a family law attorney likely cannot help with gets, Catholic annulments or similar religious divorce rituals, he or she can make sure your legal rights are respected.

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