What Does The Prenup Say?

Traditionally, rabbinical courts (batei din) have been charged with the responsibility of overseeing the process of Jewish divorce, and ensuring that a Get is not improperly withheld. However, in modern society batei din frequently lack the authority to do so. The Prenup is a document entered into by a man and woman prior to their marriage. It provides that in the unfortunate event of divorce, the beit din will have the proper authority to ensure that the Get is not used as a bargaining chip.

The Prenup essentially contains two provisions:

1. Each spouse agrees to appear before a panel of Jewish law judges (dayanim) arranged by the Beth Din of America, if the other spouse demands it, and to abide by the decision of the Beth Din with respect to the Get.

2. If the couple separates, the Jewish law obligation of the husband to support his wife is formalized, so that he is obligated to pay $150 per day (indexed to inflation), from the date he receives notice from her of her intention to collect that sum, until the date a Jewish divorce is obtained. This support obligation ends if the wife fails to appear at the Beth Din of America or to abide by a decision of the Beth Din of America.

Each of these provisions is important to ensure that a Get is given by the husband to his wife in a timely manner following the functional end of a marriage. The first obligation grants authority to the rabbinical court to oversee the Get process. The second obligation provides an incentive for the husband to abide by decisions of the rabbinical court, and give a Get to his wife once the marriage is over and there is no hope of reconciliation.