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Religious Divorce - Gett Procedures
 

The word "Gett" is an ancient term for the twelve-line document (the numerical value of the Hebrew word "Gett" equals 12) which marks the termination of a Jewish marriage. Each Gett document has uniform language.

The only changes in text deal with the individuals named in the Gett document as well as the name of the locale where the Gett is written. It is the custom of rabbinic courts to keep all Gett documents on file and to issue a certificate, called a "Ptur", to the parties who participated in the Gett process.

FAQs

CAN A GETT BE WRITTEN WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF BOTH PARTIES?
No. A Gett is written when it is clear that the parties are both willing participants in the procedure. It is the expectation of our tradition that parties that were once bound by sacred vows will respect each other sufficiently to participate fully in the Gett process. This cooperation allows both parties to proceed with their new lives, in a spirit of propriety and dignity.

WHEN ARE GETT APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE?
The Beth Din (rabbinical court, also spelled Bais Din,) meets, by appointment, on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons. Other times may be available only be special appointment. The husband must come to the Beth Din to initiate the Gett process, and the wife is also present to complete the process. The entire Gett procedure takes approximately 1 1/2 hours.

CAN A GETT BE WRITTEN WHERE THE DIVORCE HAS NOT BEEN FINALIZED?
The Gett is usually written after the couple has been civilly divorced. This ensures that the Beth Din will do nothing that interferes with applicable state law governing dissolution of marriages. However, if a divorce is pending, a Gett may be written earlier under special circumstances as determined by the Beth Din.
Experience has shown that civil judges will enforce agreements concerning the writing of a Gett. It is therefore desirable to include language about a Gett agreement in divorce settlement documents.

WHY ARE THERE DIFFERENT FEES FOR A GETT?
The basic cost of a Gett allows the cRc to retain the services of a scribe and five rabbinic aides who serve as witnesses and members of the rabbinic tribunal. A portion of the fee is allocated to administrative expenses that accompany the running of a Beth Din.
When both parties are in attendance, the total Gett fee is $375. Appointments will be made after the cRc receives an initial filing fee of $150. This non-refundable fee will be applied towards the total cost of the Gett. If expedited service is requested, additional fees may be called for.
If the wife is unavailable to receive her Gett from her former husband on the day it is written, an agent must be appointed to deliver the Gett to her. A second procedure is then required, and the rabbinic court must be convened a second time. In such cases, the fee charged is $450.
On occasion, the Beth Din may be available for Gett procedures on days other than Monday -Thursday. The cost of these special appointments will be $500.


WHO PAYS FOR THE GETT?
In some cases, a divorce settlement agreement will specify which party is liable to pay for the Gett. Where this is not the case, the parties are expected to discuss this point and inform the cRc of who will be liable for payment. In many cases, the parties amicably agree to divide the cost of the Gett. It is appreciated when fees for the Gett procedure are received in advance of the date reserved for its writing.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING THE GETT PROCEDURE?
The Av Beth Din (head of the rabbinic court) meets with the two parties to determine how their names are to appear in the Gett. At times, English names and/or nicknames are used in lieu of one's given Hebrew name. Once the names are ascertained, the scribe and rabbinic aides are authorized by the husband to serve respectively in their ritual functions.
After the Gett is written, the wife receives the Gett. Both parties must assure the rabbinic court that there is no element of compulsion in their participation in the Gett process.
The Gett procedure is conducted in the privacy of the Beth Din Room - No outsiders or by-standers are present.
The procedure is not adversarial.
No cross-examination of the parties is permitted, nor are personal questions posed about the nature of the marriage or the reasons for its dissolution.

Many participants in the Gett procedures have commented that they have appreciated the dignity and respect associated with this process. Gett Application

Questions about Gett procedures not covered here may be posed to:

Rabbi A.M. Abramson, Associate Administrator and Gett Coordinator of the Beth Din.
(773-465-3900, extension 106).

You may also email us at BethDin@crcweb.org.

 

HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, shlit"a
Rosh Beth Din

HaRav Yona Reiss, shlit"a
Av Beth Din

 

Rabbi Alan M. Abramson
Menahel Beth Din

Rabbi Moshe Kushner Z"L
Executive Director

© Copyright 2014 Chicago Rabbinical Council. All rights reserved.
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