Divorce is accomplished by the Bais Din through a document known in Hebrew as a ‘Get’. The official documentation of divorce according to Jewish law is required for either party to remarry. It is therefore extremely important that couples who divorce follow the proper procedure with a respected Bais Din (Religious Court). Much grief can be avoided by performing and documenting the Get properly, thereby avoiding the tragic situation where one party is left unable to remarry without an acceptable Get, and must remain an Agun or Agunah until a Get is executed.
Many misconceptions exist concerning the traditional divorce method and how it is administered now. We are including a short description of the procedure here for your information.
The Jewish Divorce Decree (Get) and Proceeding:
The divorce and dissolution of marriage are effected through a document. The document makes no reference to responsibility, blame, fault or settlement details. It has no bearing on any aspect of the civil divorce and settlement.
No religious blessing or divine reference is included. No prayer or profession of faith is required. The Get is strictly a religious legal document which breaks the existing bond created through marriage, and acknowledging that the couple divorcing are now free to remarry according to Jewish law.
The Get itself is a twelve line document. The decree must be letter perfect, written in the same manner and with the same requirements as a Torah scroll. An experienced scribe under the supervision of a specially trained Rabbi is required.
A Get is only prepared if both parties are seeking to end their marriage of their own free will. Before qualified witnesses and the officiating Rabbi, the Get is prepared at the request of the husband.
The witnesses sign the document and it is reviewed carefully for every requirement. The Get is given to the man, who establishes his ownership of the completed document.
The Get is then given to the wife, to transfer ownership of the document itself to her possession. Giving ownership of the Get to the wife makes a spiritual break and separation between the couple.
The woman then walks to exit the room with her Get. This demonstrates that she is free to leave with the document, which assures her ownership without restraint.
Returning to the Rav and witnesses, she displays the Get and the divorce is concluded and documented. Proof of the proper procedure is given to both parties.
The required statements made during the proceedings are neutral and non-recriminating or demeaning. In instances where geography or other reasons make it impossible or undesirable to have both parties together, the procedure can be performed through a proxy or power of attorney. It is possible to arrange a proper Get without any contact between the divorcing husband and wife. The entire procedure normally takes only a couple of hours, and does not require hearings or other additional proceedings.