Publication Date



International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family


Throughout the medieval period, marriage was acknowledged by temporal rulers to be a religious matter governed by the ecclesiastic law of the Church which, to be sure, incorporated many principles of Roman law. Subsequent to the Reformation, the rulers of many European countries became disposed to regard marriage as a civil act, to withdraw marriage from the control of the church and to entrust it entirely to the state. The Napoleonic Code was the first example of a legal system that treated marriage as a purely civil act. The Napoleonic Code did not deny the religious element present in marriage nor did it attempt to control or interfere with the religious aspects of marriage. Recognizing the religious nature of marriage as beyond the domain of civil authority, it was content to allow the religious elements of marriage to remain under the exclusive control of ecclesiastic officials while reserving to the state the right to regulate all civil matters pertaining to the union. Jews loyal to the teachings and practices of their faith are not free to enter into a second marriage unless the prior marriage has been terminated by the death of the spouse or dissolved by the execution of a particular form of divorce recognized by Jewish law. In Jewish law, divorce is effected by means of a get delivered by the husband (or his agent) to the wife (or her agent). A get is a document, usually written by a scribe but only at the behest of the husband, reciting the names of the parties, the date, and place of its drafting, and containing a statement declaring the document to be a bill of divorce that serves to dissolve the marital relationship. Although the document is simple, there are myriad technicalities that must be observed both in its drafting and delivery for 2 the get to be effective.



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