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Can an Orthodox Jewish Divorce bar a Divorce in New York?

This is a case being held before the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Kings County. The issue involves the question of whether or not the delivery of an Orthodox Jewish divorce, called a “Get” can be registered in the state of Israel and act as a bar for litigation pertaining to a divorce in the state of New York. The plaintiff in this particular case is Alexander Tsirlin and the defendant of the case is Alla Tsirlin.

Case Background

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the plaintiff husband began this action on the 11th of July, 2006 to obtain a divorce on the ground of abandonment and an order to grant the couple joint custody of their son Jonathon, with the wife obtaining physical custody and a set visitation schedule provided to the husband. He also requested a set amount of child support in accordance with child support standards.

The wife provided an answer in the case and denies that she abandoned the husband. She claims that the couple was already divorced at the time this instant action was started.

Case Facts

The couple was married in September of 1995. The wedding took place in Jerusalem, Israel. At the time of the marriage both were citizens of Israel. A New York Custody Lawyer said their son was born on the 23rd of February, 1996 in Jerusalem.

In 1998, the father of the defendant filed a petition to bring his daughter and her family to the United States. He was a United States citizen. The petition was approved and an immigration interview took place. The wife and the son were approved for their green cards after the interview, but the husband did not get approved. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said the family went to the states, but the stay of the husband was limited to a month. The husband left the United States in October to await approval of his green card.

On the ninth of December, 2003, the husband delivered his wife with a “Get” or Jewish divorce in Kings County. This “Get” provided that the husband had divorced his wife in accordance to Jewish law and was free to remarry if he is also divorced civilly.

Nearly two years later the Rabbinical Court, Jerusalem District issued a decision that stated that they endorsed the applicants divorce and it is entered that the couple’s status would go to divorced instead of married. The couples entered oral arguments that stated that the decision was made in Israel after the husband’s father presented the Get to the court in Israel.

Arguments

The defendant argues that the decision made by the Rabbinical Court in Israel establishes that the parties were divorced as of the 25th of November, 2005.

A Nassau County Custody Lawyer said the plaintiff argues that he received a phone call from his wife in December of 2003 demanding that he provide her with a “Get” or she would no longer allow him to see his child. He spoke with an attorney who advised him that a Get would not be equal to a valid civil divorce.

Discussion and Decision

Both husband and wife allege that a “Get” was obtained from a rabbinical court in New York City. While the court in Israel recognizes this as a legitimate religious divorce, the laws in the state of New York do not allow this. For this reason, the marriage is found to still be valid and the husband’s instant action for divorce is properly instituted. The motion for dismissal by the wife is denied.

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