Why should we use this Stipulation for binding arbitration?

We encourage divorcing couples to address the issue of religious divorce at the earliest reasonable time after the divorce complaint has been filed and served. In most circumstances, tension between the parties will only increase as the case progresses. We believe that this procedure minimizes the risk of anticipatory aggression, by taking away the incentive for either party to use get refusal as a weapon in later negotiations. If the Stipulation for binding arbitration is entered as a court order, this process also puts the weight of the civil court system behind your agreement to cooperate with your spouse in securing a religious divorce.

Similar to the RCA’s Binding Arbitration Agreement, we anticipate that widespread use of this stipulation,  and including a commitment to the get in every divorce agreement, will shift communal norms so that get-refusal becomes socially unacceptable, in the same way that the Halakhic Prenuptial Agreement has accomplished this within Modern Orthodoxy.

Who should use this Stipulation, and under what circumstances?

By signing this Stipulation, you are agreeing to engage in binding arbitration regarding the issuance, delivery, and acceptance of a get, designating a particular beit din to serve as the arbitrator. If you refuse to submit to arbitration before that beit din, or if do not comply with their ruling, there may be significant legal consequences.

You should enter into this Stipulation only if you and your spouse have agreed upon a beit din that you believe to be reliable and fair. Do not consent to binding arbitration if you are uncomfortable with the choice of beit din. If you have any concerns about the beit din proposed by your spouse or by anyone else (such as your shul rabbi), contact us http://www.getyourget.com/ask-a-question/.

How do I get my lawyer to do this?

Raise the issue of get-refusal with your attorney as early as possible, even if get-refusal seems unlikely in your case. Keep in mind that even formerly loving spouses can become aggressive, nasty, or downright unethical as they become entrenched in divorce proceedings.

As with any potential issue, your lawyer will want to understand the full range of what can be negotiated and potential tactics that could be used against you. Explain to your attorney the implications of get-refusal: it is not just a barrier to remarriage, but it may also affect your freedom to begin dating again and the status of your future children in their religious communities. Emphasize that withholding the get is a form of emotional abuse. If you are not personally concerned about the risk of get-refusal, stress the importance of creating or reinforcing community norms to eliminate this form of abuse.

Check our resources page {http://www.getyourget.com/links/} to see if we have proposed language, sample documents, and suggested procedures to use in your state. If these are available, give them to your attorney, along with a link to this website, and ask her/him to incorporate them early in the process.

If we do not have state-specific resources you can use, we recommend that you ask your attorney to review our Massachusetts resources and the RCA Binding Arbitration Agreement. S/he can work from these to develop an effective strategy and customized provisions for your situation.

I already have received (or given) a get.  Is this still relevant to me?

Withholding a get is a form of emotional abuse. If you have already secured a get, you will not personally need the benefit of enforcement by the civil court system. We still encourage you to include a section in your divorce agreement regarding this issue. This can help reduce the frequency of this type of emotional abuse in the Jewish community, while also raising awareness of get-refusal within the legal profession. That section should include the following:

·      Acknowledgement by both you and your spouse that a get (Jewish divorce document) has been issued, delivered, and accepted to their mutual satisfaction;

·      Identification of the beit din that oversaw the get process; and

·      Agreement by both you and your spouse that you each will cooperate in all procedures or paperwork requested by the beit din to issue receipts after the civil judgment of divorce has been entered.

Explain to your attorney and/or mediator why you want this provision to be included in the divorce agreement.

Similar to the RCA’s Binding Arbitration Agreement, which has achieved widespread acceptance among engaged couples, we anticipate that we can help shift community norms and increase awareness within the legal profession through widespread use of the Stipulation procedures and including an acknowledgement of the get in every divorce agreement.