Do Same-Sex Jewish Couples Need a Get to Divorce?

  • Posted on: Jul 28 2020
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In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made same-sex legal across the country. Many LGBT+ individuals, some of whom had been partners for decades, quickly took advantage of this and married. However, all relationships, regardless of orientation, have their ups and downs. Today, same-sex divorce is just as common as opposite-sex divorce. Some Jewish couples now wonder if they need to acquire a Get before they’re able to get divorced.

What Is a Get?

A Get is the official document that ends the marriage under Jewish divorce Law. It’s a short, handwritten document presented to the wife by the husband. When she accepts the Get, the marriage is officially ended in the eyes of the Jewish community. A Get does not replace or affect a civil divorce in any way. The couple still must go through a legal divorce in order to be seen as separated by the state and federal government.

Does the Jewish Community Recognize Same-Sex Marriage?

In order for a Get to be needed, there first has to be a marriage. The bigger question, then, is whether or not same-sex marriages are recognized under Judaism. Some branches of Judaism recognize these marriages, while others do not. In Orthodox Judaism, same-sex marriage is not allowed, although some rabbis do perform them. Reform Judaism, on the other hand, does endorse and allow rabbis to perform these marriages, although individual rabbis are allowed to refuse. Conservative Judaism allows same-sex marriage, as does Reconstructionist Judaism.

The issue becomes more complicated, though, because even in the branches of Judaism that fully endorse same-sex marriage may not use the same rituals as they do for opposite-sex ceremonies. For example, many of the terms used in the Kiddushin are gender-specific and wouldn’t be appropriate for same-sex couples. Since there is no Kiddushin, some argue, there is no need for a Get.

Speak to Your Rabbi and Lawyer

Jewish law can be complicated, and same-sex marriage is making the leaders of the different branches of Judaism examine how these unions fit within the current framework of the Kiddushin. If you and your same-sex partner are now divorcing, it’s best to talk to the rabbi who performed your ceremony. They can help you determine if a Get is required.

It also helps to have a lawyer on your side who is familiar with Jewish law. You’ll need a lawyer to handle your civil divorce, too. The team at the FK Law Group has worked with members of the Jewish community for years and is well-versed in both civil and Jewish divorce law. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

Posted in: Divorce Law, Family Law, Uncategorized