Agunot launch legal actions over get denial

In two separate cases, women are using the law against controlling and coercive behaviour to prosecute their ex-husbands


Two more women have launched private prosecutions against their former husbands for withholding a get. 

The cases are the latest attempt to use the secular courts to help agunot, chained women, who cannot remarry according to Jewish law unless they have received a religious divorce. 

Lawyers first used a six-year-old law against controlling and coercive behaviour early last year when a man finally gave his wife a get rather than risk a trial and up to five years in jail. 

In one of the new cases, Rivkah Abayahoudayan, who was civilly divorced from her husband John in 2002, has accused him of preventing her “obtaining a get”. It has been sent to trial to Harrow Crown Court in London. 

A similar action brought by Caroline Moher against Alan Moher, which alleges that he “agreed to a civil divorce but prevented her from obtaining a get… enabling her to remarry in accordance with Jewish law and practice”, has been sent for trial to Southwark Crown Court in London. 

Both men have indicated they intend to plead not guilty. 

Preliminary hearings in both cases are due to be held later this month. 

According to Jewish law, a get has to be given willingly by a man. 

A new piece of legislation, the Domestic Abuse Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, is expected to make it easier to bring legal action against recalcitrant spouses. 


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