Limited compensation for Jewish divorces

Date: September 28th, 2016 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors



A recent report in the Israel National News has revealed a new ruling by the Jerusalem District Rabbinical Court which will see a limit placed on compensation claims during a divorce.

The Jewish religion already has its own form of prenuptial agreement; a contract called a “Ketuba” which is effectively the marriage certificate with an additional clause.  This clause details the amount which the groom is bound to give his bride, should they subsequently divorce.

It seems, unfortunately, that some grooms have been ill-advised with regards to the amount they should write on the Ketuba.  Such was the case recently, when a man going through a divorce learned that his ex-wife was demanding over £110,000, since this was indeed the figure he had written on the contract.

The husband had filed for divorce after his wife had become ill.  In response, his wife countered that it was her husband’s alleged infidelity which had caused her to fall ill in the first place.  Because of this, she would only agree to the divorce if he fulfilled his side of the bargain by paying her the exact amount he had stated in the Ketuba.

By way of explanation, the man claimed that he had only written such a large amount to indicate honour and “to ward off the evil eye”.

One of the Rabbinical judges was adamant that the man should pay the full amount written on the Ketuba.  Fortunately for him, the other two judges found that the amount quoted was “excessive” and ruled that he should in fact only be expected to pay his wife around £24,000 as part of the divorce settlement.

As a result of this case, Rabbinical judges were moved to prevent prospective grooms from writing excessive amounts on their Ketuba, suggesting instead that officiating rabbis should limit the amount to one million shekels, or under £200,000.