According to a recent Yahoo! News article by Michael Blum, upwards of 6,000 women per year in Israel are fighting for the ability to divorce. Israel, which follows Jewish Law in regards to marital relations, requires that Jewish women obtain their husband’s consent for divorce. Traditionally, Jewish Law dictates that a husband must consent to a divorce through a “get” before his wife is able to divorce him. Due to this custom, many women in Israel have found themselves in the seemingly inescapable situation of officially being married for years while wanting to divorce.
The organization Yad Lisha helps women seeking a divorce in Israel and, according to its’ reports, receives approximately 6,000 requests per year for assistance. These women, unable to obtain a divorce without a husband’s consent, are often referred to as “chained women” due to their inability to leave a marriage. Aside from the obvious desire to gain freedom through divorce, there are other ramifications, according to the article, which states if a “woman has a child with another man without an official divorce, the child is considered fatherless and cannot marry under Jewish law.”
While some husbands hold out only briefly, others have denied divorces for years or even a decade or more. Fortunately, rabbinical courts do have some power to seek to force husbands to provide their permission for a divorce and have used strategies such as publicly shaming men into granting a divorce, or withholding privileges such as the ability to participate in religious ceremonies. According to the Yahoo! article, in one recent case, a father of a man refusing to grant a divorce was even jailed for thirty days “for his role in his son’s refusal to grant a divorce over the course of nearly [ten] years.” However, ultimately rabbinical courts can take measures to force a husband to give his permission, but the husband must be the party to provide his consent. We previously wrote about a New York case, in which an Orthodox Rabbi was sentenced to ten years in prison for his part in a ring that illegally coerced Orthodox Jewish husbands to provide their permission to divorces highlighting that the issue of “chained women” is not one confined to Israel.
United States Courts do not recognize any form of religious law with regards to obtaining a divorce. Each state has specific requirements for granting a divorce in that district. In North Carolina, either spouse may seek a divorce judgment so long as one spouse has resided in North Carolina for at least 6 months prior to filing and the parties have lived separate and apart with the intent to remain separate and apart for at least 366 days.
To speak with a North Carolina Family Law Attorney about what is required to file for divorce in North Carolina, please call us today at 980-939-0233 to schedule a confidential consultation.