Divorce agreements are highly personalized documents, and each couple has different issues which they want to make sure are addressed in their divorce agreement. However, there are at least four issues which every divorce agreement in Israel should cover.
A divorce agreement should cover these issues (where applicable):
1. The divorce itself – undertaking of consent and co-operation with the process. This is very important in Israel in light of the fact that the “divorce” itself must happen in front of the appropriate religious court.
2. Property – a declaration of property owned and agreement on how to divide it (including the family home and any other real estate, bank and investment accounts, savings, other income, chattel, businesses, pension rights and other work/social or other rights).
3. Child Custody & Visitation Rights – which party has custody over the children and what are the arrangements for the non-custodial parent to see the children?
4. Maintenance – in Israel this is generally done for the children and only very exceptionally, for the wife.
After these (and any other) issues have been covered in the divorce agreement, there are still a number of steps which must be taken in order to ensure that the divorce agreement is binding.
The divorce agreement must be in writing and it must be authorized by the appropriate court having jurisdiction over the particular issue (i.e. for Jewish couples either the rabbinic courts or the family courts), according to the relevant laws. The divorce agreement is then incorporated into a judgment which gives the divorce agreement binding legal force. This is advantageous as it means that the divorce agreement can be enforced as a judgment. One example of this would be where the mother has custody of the children, and the father doesn’t make his child maintenance payments as per the divorce agreement. In that situation, the mother would be able to take the judgment to the appropriate court and request that legal steps be taken in order to ensure payment of the child maintenance without starting a separate legal action.