Religion & Beliefs

Should You Get a Pre-Nup Alongside Your Ketubah?

Rabbinic Courts in Israel are looking at a new possible solution for the problem of Agunot, or women whose husbands won’t grant them a divorce. The controversial fix-it: A prenup. It’s funny that this should garner any controversy at all, … Read More

By / June 3, 2008

Rabbinic Courts in Israel are looking at a new possible solution for the problem of Agunot, or women whose husbands won’t grant them a divorce. The controversial fix-it: A prenup. It’s funny that this should garner any controversy at all, since an integral part of a Jewish marriage, a ketubah, is already one big step towards a prenup. A ketubah is basically an insurance statement for a woman, making sure she won’t be left penniless if her hubby runs off or drops dead. If we’re already talking about unpleasant stuff like abandonment and death at the wedding, what’s a little financial negotiation? A Jerusalem Post article summarizes some of the anti-prenup feeling in the Orthodox world:

The use of prenuptial agreements to facilitate the divorce process is a controversial issue among Rabbinic Court judges. Some rabbis oppose the use of most prenuptials, claiming the agreements make it too easy for one side to end a marriage. They are concerned that making divorce too easy will endanger the Jewish family institution. They also argue that the use made in prenuptials of monetary incentives to encourage a recalcitrant partner to acquiesce to divorce is really a form of coercion prohibited by Jewish law.

Bullshit and bullshit, as far as I’m concerned, and I’m not the only one. Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, administrative head of the Rabbinic Courts, is on board for prenups, and so is Marc Stern, who wrote an article called ‘A Legal Guide to the Prenuptial Agreement for Couples about to Be Married’ published in a book called The Prenuptial Agreement – Halakhic and Pastoral Considerations by Rabbi Basil Herring and Rabbi Kenneth Auman. Prenups aren’t romantic or fun, but neither is being stuck in a marriage you can’t get out of. Let’s save everyone some grief and legal fees down the line.

Addendum: Check out this post on the Hatam Soferet blog about a woman scribe writing her own get.  Simultaneously sad and empowering. (Hat tip, Jewess).