Get (Gitten) FAQs
A standard Get procedure is non-adversarial and does not involve litigation. There are no grounds needed when there is mutual consent, and no personal questions are asked.
No. Typically, both the husband and wife are in the room for the Get proceeding. However, when desirable because of logistical or emotional reasons, the Beth Din will arrange for the husband to appoint an agent to deliver the Get to his wife after the husband has left the Beth Din office, so that the parties need not appear together.
Yes. Each party may be accompanied by a family member or friend.
You should bring with you: (i) Jewish marriage contract (Ketubah) and civil license, if available; (ii) one form of photo identification, i.e., driver’s license, passport, etc.; (iii) documentation from previous divorce, if applicable; and (iv) documentation of conversion, if applicable.
The Beth Din will call or send a letter (hazmana) via certified and regular mail, asking the reluctant spouse to contact the Beth Din for an appointment within 14 days. Should there be no response, the Beth Din will send a second hazmana to the recalcitrant spouse, and if necessary, a third hazmana as well. After three summonses have been issued without an appropriate response from the reluctant spouse, the Beth Din will issue a hasra’as seruv, a letter warning of the forthcoming issuance of a contempt order. If a satisfactory response is still not received from the spouse, the Beth Din may issue a seruv (contempt order) that declares the spouse to be “recalcitrant” and subject to public ostracism and condemnation, calling upon the community to take appropriate action. Notice of this declaration is sent to the spouse with a copy to the recalcitrant spouse.
In such a case, the Beth Din will convene a Din Torah (Jewish arbitration proceeding) to determine whether and when a Get should be given. At the Din Torah, each party has the opportunity to present their case, and a panel of three dayanim (judges) will issue a decision. If a party refuses to abide by the decision of the Beth Din, the Beth Din may issue a document (seruv) as described above.
It is the expectation of our tradition that parties that were once bound by sacred vows will respect each other sufficiently to participate fully in the Get process. This cooperation allows both parties to proceed with their new lives, in a spirit of propriety and dignity.
The Beth Din meets, by appointment, on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons. Other times may be available only by special appointment. The husband must come to the Beth Din to initiate the Get process, and the wife is also present to complete the process. The entire Get procedure takes approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Yes. The Get is usually written after the couple has filed for civil divorce even though it has not yet been finalized. This ensures that the Beth Din will do nothing that interferes with applicable state law governing dissolution of marriages. However, if a divorce proceeding is imminent, a Get may be written earlier under special circumstances as determined by the Beth Din. Experience has shown that civil judges will respect agreements concerning the writing of a Get. It is therefore desirable to include language about a Get agreement in divorce settlement documents.
The basic cost of a Get allows the cRc to retain the services of a scribe and five rabbinic aides who serve as witnesses and members of the rabbinic tribunal. A portion of the fee is allocated to administrative expenses that accompany the running of a Beth Din.
When both parties are in attendance, the total Get fee is $375. Appointments will be made after the cRc receives an initial filing fee of $150. This non-refundable fee will be applied towards the total cost of the Get. If expedited service is requested, additional fees may be called for.
If the wife is unavailable to receive her Get from her former husband on the day it is written, an agent must be appointed to deliver the Get to her. A second procedure is then required, and the rabbinic court must be convened a second time. In such cases, the total fee charged is $450.
On occasion, the Beth Din may be available for Get procedures on days other than regularly scheduled Get times. The total cost of these special appointments will be $500.
In some cases, a divorce settlement agreement will specify which party is liable to pay for the Get. Where this is not the case, the parties are expected to discuss this point and inform the cRc as to who will be liable for payment. In many cases, the parties amicably agree to divide the cost of the Get. It is appreciated when fees for the Get procedure are received in advance of the date reserved for its writing.
The Av Beth Din (head of the rabbinic court) meets with the two parties to determine how their names are to appear in the Get. At times, English names and/or nicknames are used in lieu of one’s given Hebrew name. Once the names are ascertained, the scribe and rabbinic aides are authorized by the husband to serve respectively in their ritual functions.
After the Get is written, the wife receives the Get. Both parties must assure the rabbinic court that there is no element of compulsion in their participation in the Get process.
The Get procedure is conducted in the privacy of the Beth Din room. No outsiders or bystanders are present.
The procedure is not adversarial.
No cross-examination of the parties is permitted, nor are personal questions posed about the nature of the marriage or the reasons for its dissolution.
Many participants in the Get procedures have commented that they have appreciated the dignity and respect associated with this process.
Questions about Get procedures not covered here may be posed to:
Rabbi A.M. Abramson, Associate Administrator and Get Coordinator of the Beth Din.