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Apr 26, 2018

Interesting Psak: Fake Divorce

30 years ago Mr and Mrs got married in Uzbekitan. At some point they made aliya to Israel and lived in netanya, expanding their family with two children. 18 years ago Mr and Mrs show up at the local beis din asking for a divorce, and presenting a signed divorce settlement.

The settlement stated that Mr agrees to give the apartment in Netanya to Mrs. He also agreed that she would have full custody of the kids and that he would pay her 1500nis child support (monthly).

Now, 12 years later, Mr shows up in beis din requesting to cancel the divorce and the settlement saying it was fictitious and the purpose was only to avoid losing the apartment to his debtors. Mr explains that the restaurant he was running went into bankruptcy and he was stuck with heavy debt. They decided to fake a divorce in order to  avoid the debtors and the Hotzaa Lapoel - the Bailiff's Collection Agency. They came up with this plan and signed a settlement giving her all the assets, though immediately after the divorce was finalized he moved right back into the house, lived normal lives and even had another child together - nobody around them even knew they were officially divorced. Now they are actually fighting and possibly separating, so he wants his property back.

Mrs confirms the story but insists he willingly gave her his portion of the property, so it is hers.

The beis din discussed the issue and investigated the story and decided that the first divorce was valid, even though they meant it to be fictitious, but because they went back to living together as husband and wife, and even had another child together, to separate now they would require another divorce.

Regarding the original settlement, the beis din decided there was nothing unusual or extraordinary about the terms of the settlement, the two parties signed on it willingly and that is declared in the document and they also declare in the document that they will not appeal the validity of the document or any of the claims therein. The settlement is valid from both halachic and legal perspectives, so she owns the property. The beis din rejected the appeal to overturn and revoke the original settlement.
source: Kipa

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  1. If they are now remarried (and so need another divorce), doesn't he have a certain claim on the assets?

  2. possibly not if they never actually remarried. I know that people who live together as man and wife could sometimes need a gett, possibly only lchumra, even though they arent married. if they were not married, and they werent, he would not get half her property. Even if they did formally remarry, which they didnt, the property would be hers and he would be able to profit from it as long as they remain married, but in divorce she would get it back


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