FAQ

The Contract is suitable for all couples who marry through the Israeli Rabbinate.It is also suitable for couples who sanctify their relationship with "kiddushin" in private halakhic ceremonies whether or not they also marry in secular, civil ceremonies outside Israel. 

If one marries in accordance with halakha, problems might arise, for example: get refusal, aginut, mamzerut, andchalitza. These challenges are particularly acute in Israel where halakha has been incorporated into the laws of the State of Israel. 

The first part of the CWJ Contract (entitled "Undertaking") uses legal tools to curtail the incidences of getrefusal. Under this part of the Contract, the parties agree that getrefusal causes harm. The Agreement confers authority to non-ecclesiastical, courts to calculate and award these damages.

The second part of the CWJ Contract (entitled "Terms of Marriage") uses halakhic tools to empower a rabbinic court to eliminate problems of aginut, get refusal, mamzerut, and chalitza. It sets terms upon which a rabbinic tribunal can declare a Jewish marriage over.

Only partially.The Agreement assumes that most spouses will prefer to arrange for a get and not cause compensable harm. However, there are wealthy, vengeful, poor, and missing spouses on whom the Contract will have little, impact.  

The Terms of Marriage section provides a systemic solution to the problems of get refusal,aginut, chalitza, andmamzerHowever, it depends upon the ability to convene a rabbinic tribunal willing to recognize and implement the mechanisms introduced in it to affect that solution.CWJ believes that when faced with difficult cases, even the rabbinic courts, which normally interpret halakha in a narrow and strict manner, will implement the Terms of Marriage.

To date, the Chief Rabbinate has not approved of any prenuptial agreement. 

With the exception of the Lookstein Prenup drafted in New York in 1990's, no other prenup aside from CWJ's ("Undertaking") refers to get refusal as compensatory harm and confers jurisdiction to a non- ecclesiastical court to award damages for that harm.

The Agreement for Mutual Respect (AMR) relies on the obligation to pay extra-ordinary support as an incentive to deliver a get. The AMR also leaves the race to the Israeli courthouse in place (Clause H). This allows for the possibility that a rabbinic court will take jurisdiction to invalidate that support undertaking.

The Tzohar Love Agreement is an arbitration agreement. Like the AMR, it relies on a spouse's undertaking to pay extra-ordinary support as an incentive to deliver a get. However, the Tzohar Agreement gives broad discretion to the appointed arbitrator to delay payment of the support obligation indefinitely without giving reasons for doing so (Clause 5 and Appendix A). In general, CWJ does not recommend the signing of arbitration agreements which by definition abridge a party's right to appeal.  In addition, CWJ feels that arbitration is inappropriate inthe context of Jewish divorce where men and women do not have equal power relations.

Neither the AMR nor Tzohar Prenups provides for the possible dissolution of a Jewish marriage without the agreement of both spouses to the divorce.  CWJ's Terms of Marriage allows for this. It is based on Rabbi Michael Broyde's tripartite agreement.   CWJ's Terms of Marriage is shorter than Broyde's, and, unlike Rabbi Broyde's, it also includes provisions to try to prevent problems of mamzer. 

Of course. In the introduction, the Contract states specifically that reconciliation is preferred and encouraged. However, unlike other prenups, it does not elaborate on how to go about this. It is CWJ's opinion that if reconciliation were possible, a couple will make all efforts to rehabilitate their marriage at their own initiative and terms. 

The first part of the Contract ("Undertaking") should be signed in front of a notary before the wedding.After the wedding, the Agreement must be signed before a judge of the family court.

The halachic portion of the Contract ("Terms of Marriage") also must be signed before the wedding. This should be done in front of two halachically acceptable witnesses --observant men who are not relatives of each other or of one of the spouses.

No. So long as a couple lives together and no one wants a divorce, their marriage is like any other. Our sages recognized the need for, and approved of, adding "terms" to a marriage contract already in the times of the Mishnah.