In Israel the issues of the divorce itself (not necessarily the ancillary issues) are decided in religious courts. In other words, although the family courts (which are secular) may end up making decisions regarding child custody, child support, and division of assets, the rule is that over the “body” of the marriage only a religious court can make decision and either end (or originally start) the marriage. There are the Rabbinic courts for Jews, the Shariah courts for Muslims, and a slew of Christian courts for the different Christian denominations. If both spouses aren’t the same religion, or if one of them is listed as having no religion – then the couple can’t get married in Israel because there is no religious court that accepts people of differing religions. This is the reason that people of different religions have to get married outside of Israel – because there is no body authorized to marry them in Israel. However, once married somewhere else, the Ministry of the Interior recognizes the couple as married – whether the marriage was done in the religious framework or not.
So what do these “mixed marriage” couples do when they want to get divorced? The procedure is relatively simple, although a bit more complex than other marriages. The first step is that the couple goes to the secular family court. Whether by agreement or via litigation, all of the marital issues need to b resolved (i.e. child custody, support payments, division of assets) in front of the Family court. Once the family court has either affirmed a divorce agreement or given judgments, then the couple makes an application to the vice president of the family courts, and he “annuls” the marriage.
If you have questions about getting divorced in Israel then pick up the phone and call me. I help people with their Israel based and Israel related legal family matters every day, and I can help you.
I have offices located in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem. My U.S. phone number is (201) 696 – 3947, and my Israel phone number is (077) 200 – 8161. My email is [email protected]
My offices solve peoples’ family law problems, and we can solve yours too.