Showing posts with label wife goes to secular court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wife goes to secular court. Show all posts

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Question - Wife went to secular court and not Beth Din

  1. QUESTION:
    Dear Rabbi.

    My ex-wife & I spoke about a possible divorce prior of my ex-wife leaving the marital home. I clearly told her that in the event of a divorce I would go to a Bais-Din first, and I object to go to a secular family court, as we are both orthodox observant Jews. When my ex-wife left the marital home (with the children), she immediately went to secular Family Court, ignoring my objection. When I brought my objection to her Rabbi, he also ignored my objection. Prior to my ex-wife going to a secular Family Court I never got a Hazmanh from a Bais Din, nor was any permission to go to a secular family court granted. After 6 month my ex-wife decided to go to a Bais Din after failing to force a ‘Get’ in the secular Family Court. This Bais Din, which was managed by her own Rabbi, knew about her going to a secular Family Court, and knew about my objection. At that point I already lost terribly as a Pro-Se litigant due to lack of financial ability to be represented by an attorney. My questions are as follows:

    1. Do I have an obligation NOW to respond to this Bais Din?
    2. Doesn’t Jewish Law forbid going to a Secular Family Court?
    3. Can my ex-wife break a fundamental Jewish Law of ‘Mesiara’ and ‘Erchaoth’ and still demand a ‘Get’ from a Bais Din?
    4. Doesn’t it consider a betrayal for the Torah, as she really didn’t ‘need’ the Bais Din thus far???
    5. Do I have any obligation to go to a Bais Din while my ex-wife already litigated (and won) all financial & children custody issues at the secular Family Court?
    6. Her Bais Din wrote a ‘Siruv’ (Jewish Contempt of the Court) on me. Is this ‘Siruv’ valid?
    7. Is this ‘Bais Din’ allowed to issue a siruv on me based on the information above mentioned?

    Thank you for your time.
    RESPONSE


  2. I don't know who you are and I don't know anything about your case other than what you said. I therefore cannot assume that I know what actually happened. I can, however, respond to you regarding your questions of Jewish law, how the Shulchan Aruch would look at things, but whether or not this applies to anyone, especially this case, is not something I know enough to discuss. And listening to one side of a dispute does not convey the whole story and one may not pasken on that basis. In the event that you want me to be involved in your personal case, discuss the matter with your wife, and if I can talk to you and her, I can suggest a plan that may satisfy both sides. But for now I am not talking to you to respond to how you should behave in this particular case that I know nothing about. I am merely using these questions as they came to me to bring out basic procedures in Torah law.
  3. Let us take your questions now:
  4. 1. Do I have an obligation NOW to respond to this Bais Din?
  5. I don't know anything about your particular Beth Din. It seems you don't want to appear before it and they wrote a Siruv against you. There is a general mistake made by people in your circumstances. They see that the wife does something wrong, to go to civil court and not a Beth Din, and they see that rabbis are going after you, not after her, and you feel that the rabbis are wicked and you don't want to respond to them. This is a mistake. When you are given a claim by somebody, good people or bad people, by a Beth Din you respect or one that you do not, you cannot ignore it. You cannot refuse to enter into discussions to deal with the claimant. Now, technically, in certain cases, you may find an excuse to consider them out of the pale of Torah, and maybe you are right that they are like Reform rabbis, but still, nobody wants to leave things hanging like that, and living with a Siruv that can destroy you.
Therefore, when a claimant, even a wicked one, has a claim against you, you must respond. In this case, the Shulchan Aruch has two opinions whether the Beth Din itself would consider the wife's claims, because she sinned by going to secular court. But while it is true that Ramo rules this way, and his opinion is usually decisive, in this case the Tumim who was a mighty genius and authority, completely disagrees with the Ramo, at least in some circumstances. So, if a Beth Din refuses to get involved, that is the Beth Din's business. But for you to deny the claimant an opportunity to deal with her claims is not smart, will result in a siruv, as it already has, and denies you the opportunity to turn the tables on her.

What you should have done is to respond to the Beth Din's demand that you have a Din Torah by agreeing to the judgment. But you can refuse to go to the Beth Din of the claimant. You can say that you will respond to the claimant in a different Beth Din. Or, you can respond that as long as she is in secular court, or as long as she refuses to relinquish all of her gains in secular court, you refuse to go to Beth Din. Now, the Beth Din may refuse you on some of these points. But you are not a plain refuser. You are a refuser with a reason. That makes a difference. 

Now, if after all of this, the Beth Din comes after you, you respond to them that you want it in writing, that even though she won her claims against you in secular court, and only comes to Beth Din to finish you off by asking for a GET, that you must accept their demands. Say also, that even when the Beth Din reiterates its demand that  you come to them for the Din Torah, you want another Beth Din. There are Beth Dins that are on the side of the Shulchan Aruch, even in such cases. At that point, the Beth Din must accept your decision if you have a Beth DIn that will back you. Rabbi Knoefler in Lakewood might be a good Beth Din for you. Once you have a Beth Din to fight for you, you are strong, and she is in trouble. The first  Beth Din is also in trouble.

If your wife refuses the Beth Din that you chose, you enter the phase of zabla, meaning, each of you pick out one dayan. You will pick a Dayan and she will pick a dayan. Then begins the selection of the third Dayan, which is made by the two selected Dayanim. Hopefully, they will agree on a third dayan and they will settle all of the issues.

That is the basic answer for  your questions. But let us finish off the other questions.
  1. 2. Doesn’t Jewish Law forbid going to a Secular Family Court? 
  2. Yes.
  3. 3. Can my ex-wife break a fundamental Jewish Law of ‘Mesiara’ and ‘Erchaoth’ and still demand a ‘Get’ from a Bais Din? 
  4. That is up to the Beth Din to decide. If they err, they err as a Beth Din, and it won't help you to tell them that. But yes, this could possibly be an error.
    4. Doesn’t it consider a betrayal for the Torah, as she really didn’t ‘need’ the Bais Din thus far???
  5. Maybe you are right. But it doesn't change matters. You must respond and mount your claims or get squashed.

  6. 5. Do I have any obligation to go to a Bais Din while my ex-wife already litigated (and won) all financial & children custody issues at the secular Family Court?
  7. What about the children? You must win them back in a Beth Din. You must reverse the civil court's ruling against you. The Beth Din properly constituted is your great strength.

  8. 6. Her Bais Din wrote a ‘Siruv’ (Jewish Contempt of the Court) on me. Is this ‘Siruv’ valid?
  9. It doesn't matter if we don't discuss this issue. You must get to a Beth Din for your sake, for the sake of the children, but maybe not the Beth Din that you don't like, as we explained earlier.
    7. Is this ‘Bais Din’ allowed to issue a siruv on me based on the information above mentioned?
  10. I can't talk about your actual case. I explained already the basic parameters in all of this, and the bottom line is that you need a Beth Din that  you trust and  you can get one with Zabla, when each side selects one dayan and the two select one they both agree to. If she refuses to accept any Dayan that your selection wants, that is another question.