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Legal Information: Religious

Abuse in the Jewish Community

Laws current as of August 7, 2018

Can a woman start the “get” process?

Traditionally, only a husband can start the “get” process. However, some streams of Judaism now allow women to ask a rabbi or rabbinical court to start the get process to convince a husband to give a get.

In order to begin the get process as a woman, you can speak to your rabbi. If you do not have a rabbi, you can ask a friend or relative who trusts his/her rabbi to refer you, or you can find one through the websites of the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Reconstructing Judaism, or the Orthodox Union of Rabbis. (WomensLaw is not affiliated with any of these websites.)

Generally, if a civil divorce has not been issued, the rabbi may first suggest that you and your partner seek counseling before pursuing a get. However, if you are in an abusive marriage, counseling may not be a safe option for you. Batterers’ behavior often will not change even with counseling. If you feel that counseling is not a good option, or that delaying the divorce could put you in danger, be sure to be talk to your rabbi about this.

If counseling is not an option, or if after counseling you do not want to continue the marriage, you can likely begin proceedings for a get.