Procedure for Obtaining a Religious Divorce/Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Posted on February 5, 2012


(This excerpt can be found at
Judaism discourages loneliness, but it also realizes that a bad marriage can be far worse than being alone. Thus Jewish divorce, when necessary, is condoned.

People familiar with civil court procedures in divorce matters are not aware of the simplicity, ease and relatively low cost of a Jewish religious divorce. What follows is excerpted from a document prepared by the Rabbinical Court of the Rabbinical Council of America.

“The prerequisites for a Jewish divorce are the consent of both parties and the husband’s direct authorization for the writing, witnessing, signing, and transmission of the bill of divorce to his wife…

“The divorce is written in the presence of a tribunal of three qualified persons, in accordance with specified regulations.

“The husband may deliver the divorce document personally to his wife or through an agent, properly appointed in the presence of a rabbinic tribunal of three rabbis, known in Hebrew as a Beth Din. The wife must receive the writ of divorce in her hands, either directly from her husband or from his duly appointed agent. Until this is done, the Jewish divorce is not consummated.

“Jewish religious law does not make it necessary for both parties to be in the same city. The husband in his community may authorize the writing and witnessing of the writ of divorce. He may then appoint his agent to deliver the document to his wife, who resides in another city. In such a case, the Rabbinic Tribunal prepares additional papers, certifying that an agent has been duly appointed. A specific procedure follows, with official delivery of the bill of divorce to the wife, in the presence of a Rabbinic Tribunal in the community in which the wife resides.

“A Jewish divorce may be sent to any Jewish community of any country. It is valid everywhere when prepared and delivered by recognized, ordained rabbis. It permits either party to remarry in accordance with Jewish law. The actual divorce proceedings are normally completed in about an hour and a half.”

Compliance with this simple procedure may alleviate future suffering in consonance with the fundamental principles of justice.