The Get Proceeding
Rebecca E. Samson
It appears to be a mystery as to what happens at a Get proceeding, however, it really is a simple process. There is no hearing, no testimony and no judging.
When both parties agree to the dissolution of their marriage, they appear before a rabbi or a Beth Din who officiates the proceedings. Each person acknowledges that they understand the proceedings and are acting freely without coercion or duress. Originally the wife’s consent wasn’t required in order for her husband to divorce her. This changed approximately 1000 years ago when Rabbi Gershom prohibited a man from divorcing his wife without her consent. Now, therefore, both the husband and the wife must knowingly and willingly agree to participate in the Get proceedings.
The husband then authorizes the scribe to write the Get on his behalf, which is signed by two authorized witnesses beneath the twelfth line. The husband then presents the Get to his wife, in the presence of the two authorized witnesses. The Get document itself remains in the files of the officiating rabbi, and is torn so that it cannot be used again. The rabbi then issues a certificate of proof (p’tur) to both parties, attesting to the fact that a Get was properly written, delivered and accepted, and that each party is free to remarry.
There are no prayers or blessings involved. The entire proceeding normally takes between one to two hours, and usually takes place in the rabbi’s or Beth Din‘s office.
In situations where direct contact between the husband and wife would be difficult or problematic, either for geographical reasons or emotional issues, the Get can be delivered by an authorized agent. A Get can also be arranged at a later date, although as a practical matter, it should be written and delivered as soon as possible.
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