I'm engaged to be married to a woman who is divorced. Her former husband has refused to provide a get. Moreover, he is using her requests as an excuse to draw her back into the emotional games that led to the dissolution of the marriage. I now believe it would be a mistake to for her, or anyone, to have any further contact with him regarding a get. I believe he would use such contact only as an opportunity to try to continue to manipulate her feelings and to hurt her. I am a member of a Conservative Congregation. Any ideas on how to free her from this marriage so we can get married in a wedding officiated by my Rabbi?
Thank you for reaching out to us. I hope very much that we can be helpful.
I'm hesitant to give advice to third parties in such an intimate situation, where details can be crucial. So I encourage you to encourage your intended to reach out to us directly.
What I can say briefly is that Orthodox rabbinic courts will sometimes determine retrospectively that a wedding was not valid under Jewish law and the couple was never Jewishly married, and Conservative rabbinic courts will sometimes retroactively annul a marriage. Such an Orthodox ruling will generally be accepted by the Conservative community and rabbinate, whereas such a Conservative ruling will generally not be accepted by the Orthodox community and rabbinate (full disclosure: I am an Orthodox rabbi). So I would expect to encourage trying the Orthodox route first, if after hearing more details that seemed a viable option. To the best of my knowledge, both Orthodox and Conservative rabbinic courts would insiston making an effort to reach out to the ex-husband themselves to verify his unwillingness to participate in good faith, but a competent court would not allow itself to be used as a means of control or manipulation.