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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

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A Jewish Divorce Dispute Leads to Protest

Ahron Friedman civilly divorced his wife in April. Friedman, an orthodox Jew, refuses to give his wife, Tamar Epstein, a Jewish decree of divorce. According to Jewish law, a get is something only a husband can give. Unless a get is given, the couple is still considered married according to Jewish law. In addition, without a get, neither he nor his wife can remarry within the faith. A chain woman or an agunah is the way Tamar Epstein lives within her faith, until she receives a get from her husband.

Most of us may not understand religious martial laws, as we are free to marry and legally divorce anyone as we see fit. It is estimated there are several hundred agunot in the United States today, due to get disputes.

Freidman’s refusal to unchain or release his wife from their Jewish marriage resulted in a secular protest outside of his apartment and his place of employment. YouTube videos showed protestors including religious women with their heads covered, men in traditional skullcaps and rabbis. Important rabbis who are also pressuring him to do what they see as the right thing condemn Freidman.

Ahron and Tamar married on April 23, 2006. A year later, they had a daughter. Ms. Epstein expressed her desired to divorce in 2008, while her husband hoped for reconciliation. Epstein moved out with the couple’s daughter and went from Maryland to her parent’s home in Philadelphia. The couple wanted their divorce resolved by a beit din, a Jewish court. They also had to follow the law and file in a civil court.

Freidman’s refusal to offer a get stems from the couple’s bitter custody dispute. Epstein received primary custody while Freidman has custody three weekends a month. As a religious Jew, Mr. Friedman does not drive from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. He believes the civil court ignored his religious beliefs and disrespected the Sabbath. As it stands, he is only able to pick his daughter up on Sundays and feels he does not spend enough time with her.

The couple has not exhausted all rabbinical courts, which is yet to rule on their divorce and custody dispute. However, rabbis participating in pressuring Freidman through protests state it is Jewish custom to give a get once divorce terms are settled and there is no possibility of reconciliation.

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