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Jewish women may have special need of divorce mediation

The process of divorce mediation allows divorcing couples to come to creative solutions to certain problems that might not be handled well by typical divorce proceedings. Mediation might be especially useful for women in the Illinois Jewish community, as an emerging issue known as the "get crisis" becomes more and more of a problem. While Jewish women are capable of ending a marriage through the courts, Orthodox Jewish men have control over whether or not their wives can obtain a religious divorce. This divorce, known as a "get," is crucial for Jewish women, as they can be prevented from remarrying or even dating in their community without it. Things have gotten so bad in some cases, that some rabbis were recently arrested for being involved in plots to beat husbands that refuse to give gets.

Fortunately, divorce mediation might provide a way for Jewish couples to work out their issues in ways that might make husbands more amenable to the idea of granting religious divorces. Often, typical divorce court proceedings do not take personal issues such as religion into account when deciding on things such as property division and child custody. Mediation can allow both spouses to come up with inventive solutions to such issues. A creative agreement that both parties are happy with might lessen a Jewish man's urge to refuse a get.

Divorce mediation might also be a beneficial alternative to settling things in the rabbinical courts. These courts sometimes use communal shaming to put pressure on husbands that are withholding religious divorces. However, alerting the local Jewish community to a husband's stubbornness can backfire, as a man might be even more inclined to withhold a get once his pride has been hurt. It's best to seek a professional divorce mediator that can level the playing field and provide Jewish women with some options while avoiding the public shaming of their husbands in the Orthodox community.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "5 Ways That Divorce Mediation Can Help Resolve the 'Get' Crisis" Morghan Leia Richardson, Jan. 06, 2014

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