Text size

A husband who refused to divorce his wife was ordered to pay her NIS 550,000 in compensation for the mental anguish he caused her.

Moreover, though the wife held a rabbinic ruling ordering her husband to grant her a get - a religious divorce - the Jerusalem Family Court ruled that a husband's refusal to do so could entitle the woman to compensation. That applied even if the wife lacked a religious ruling.

The couple had been married for nine years. In 1998, claiming mental and physical abuse, she sued for divorce at the Rabbinic Court. In June 2006 the Rabbinic Court ruled that the husband must grant her a divorce, yet he has so far refused to do so.

The wife sued the husband for NIS 1.8 million, claiming mental anguish and financial damage. The husband, for his part, argued that he wanted to reconcile, and argued that her lawsuit was designed to press him to grant the get.

Judge Ben-Zion Greenberger granted the wife compensation on the grounds that her husband had defied a court order and had caused her anguish. But he also ruled that even when the Rabbinic Court does not order the husband to divorce his wife, she may win compensation for the damage caused by the husband refusal to grant a get.

The issues at hand are whether the husband has refused the wife's request to divorce, whether his refusal is justifiable and whether he could expect his refusal to cause damage, Greenberger ruled.