New Haven, CT - Connecticut Judge Sets Precedent In Beth Din Ruling On Prenuptial Agreements
New Haven, CT - For the first time since its creation in the early 1990s, a Connecticut Superior Court Judge has affirmed the constitutionality of the Modern Orthodox prenuptial agreement created by Beth Din of America aimed at protecting the agunot.
The Jewish Daily Forwrad (http://bit.ly/VNmUWZ) is reporting that the ruling paves the way for the agunah in the case, Rachel Light, to possibly demand over $100,000 from her husband according to the terms of their prenup.
The decisions has sent shockwaves through both the Jewish and the legal community.
Susan Aranoff, director of the advocacy group Agunah International, called the decision a ‘breakthrough for women,’ saying, “The unanswered question with regard to the prenup was always will it be enforceable in court. Now that is has been enforced husbands know there is a cost for withholding a get.”
Pepperdine University School of La w professor, Michael Helfand, said that while the ruling does not preclude the prenup from future challenges, it establishes precedent, making the prenup harder to defeat.
“Next time a judge gets one of these, there’s an opinion he can look at and say it’s enforceable,” said Helfand.
Rachel and Eben Light signed their version of the prenup in 2001. At the time, they chose to omit the document allowing a beit din to arbitrate their divorce, signing only the document pertaining to financial penalties for failure by Eben to grant a get.
Last July Rachel sued in Connecticut Superior Court , saying that while she and Eben had separated years earlier, Eben refused to grant her a get. Rachel asked the court to enforce the provision in the prenup in which Eben agreed to pay $100, plus adjusted inflation, for every day he refused to grant the get.
Eben argued that the prenup was a religious matter, and as such, it was uncon stitutional for a secular court to enforce the document.
Eben Light has appealed the decision, and a hearing has been set for March.
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