Family Law

Family Law

One of the foundations of Family Law is Marriage.  Marriage is one of the biggest decisions one will make in a lifetime.  It is a life-altering experience where two people choose to dedicate their time and their energies, generally for the purpose of love, companionship and building a family together. Economic considerations also factor into the decision to marry, sometimes with an intent to grow together financially and sometimes with the intent to protect financial interests that were gained or inherited prior to marriage.

In Israel, believe it or not, hundreds of thousands of citizens are denied the basic human right to marry in their own country.

Marriage and Divorce in Israel falls under the exclusive Jurisdiction of the Religious Courts in the country.  There is no such institution of Civil Marriage in Israel nor can there be Interfaith marriage.  The reason for the large number of citizens who are unable to marry, basically lies in the fact that where the religion of a party is not absolutely clear (and in the very large majority of cases the issue is whether one or both of the parties are recognized as Jews by the Israeli Rabbinate), no religious court will have jurisdiction and therefore no marriage can take place.  Although, there are other factors that might render a couple ineligible to marry in Israel, in the majority of cases, the above holds true.

This is one aspect of religious coercion that prevails in Israel and, in reaction, many secular couples revolt against this system by choosing to marry outside of Israel, even if both parties are of the same religious faith.

This impossible situation is one of main contributing factors to the large body of Family Law Court Decisions pertaining to Domestic Partnerships, whether heterosexual or same-sex.

Since the Religious Courts in Israel also have absolute Jurisdiction over the Divorce of married couples, this issue is further complicated by divorces that take place outside of the county between parties who may or may not be of the same religion and then choose to remarry other parties before all issues are resolved, finally, in the Religious Courts.  Such cases can result in Bigamy, as in the case of a famous Israeli musician who divorced his wife abroad and was later charged with Bigamy upon his return to Israel.

Legislation to remedy this situation in Israel has been continuously proposed and defeated or altered to such a degree as to render it untenable. The proposed legislation, generally, proposes the registration of domestic partnerships in lieu of marriage, in instances where no religious court has jurisdiction of the couple who wish to marry. Presumably such legislation would include amendments to prevailing laws making domestic partnerships equal under Israeli law to marriage – but as far as International Law is concerned this might cause even further complications where immigration based on marriage is concerned or where divorce or dissolution of marriages and domestic partnerships may be recognized or not in different countries for future marriage or other purposes.

The subject can be so complicated that it is always a very good idea for Israelis, in particular, and Jews who are contemplating immigration to Israel, in general, to seek legal advice from an Attorney specializing in Family Law, whenever a couple chooses to “defy” the system and marry and/or divorce outside of Israel.

Klarfeld Law Offices offer a complete range of legal services to facilitate the caring and personal handling of all domestic relations, family law and matrimonial law matters, such as:  alimony, annulment, religious divorce decrees, Hague Convention procedures for the return of kidnapped children, children’s issues, child care, child custody, child support, contempt of court, division of marital property, divorce, domestic violence, enforcement of judgments/orders, equitable distribution, grandparents’ rights, joint custody, litigation, marital agreements, marital property distribution, marital property law, name changes, negotiation and settlement, divorce, parental rights, paternity, post divorce modification(s), postnuptial agreements, prenuptial agreements, unmarried couple agreements, property settlements, protective orders, qualified domestic relations orders, real property transfer, relocation, restraining order, separation agreements, shared parenting schedules, spousal support spousal maintenance, time sharing schedules, and visitation rights.

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