Why Do I Need A Get?

Rebecca E. Samson

According to the Torah, a Jewish couple’s marriage is terminated when a bill of divorce is given from the husband to the wife. This document, known by its Aramaic name, “get,” serves as proof of the dissolution of the marriage in the event that one or both wish to remarry but it actually effectuates the divorce.

While Jewish law requires one to follow the law of the land, a civil divorce is required for a divorce. However, a civil divorce is not a substitute for a Jewish divorce. Without a get, no matter how long the couple is separated, and no matter how many civil documents are filed with the court, in the eyes of Jewish law, the couple is still married. Moreover, in Israel, you are required to have a get prior to  a rabbi officiating your subsequent marriage.

Even if you do not plan on remarrying in the future, you never know…Why be stuck in a situation where you cannot remarry? Or why would you want to have to deal with your ex-spouse, who may or may not be amenable to participating in the get process years after you were civilly divorced?

Even more important is that your decision to obtain a get may effect your children’s future. If a child is born to a mother who is still technically married to someone else, that child may be considered illegitimate and that child will be limited to who they will be able to marry.

If you chose to have your marriage officiated by a rabbi, and that was an important decision that you made, then you should be able to understand how important it is to have a rabbi properly deal with the end of your marriage.



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