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NY Divorce Law

Reader comment on item: The Deceits of Bridges TV

Submitted by Mike (United States), Feb 26, 2009 at 17:25

You said: "A reliable source informs me – and this is breaking news – that the police found Muzzammil repeatedly told his wife that she had no right, under Islamic law, to divorce him. They also quote him stating that Aasiya, because beheaded, cannot reach paradise."

Islam isn't the only wacky religion. Your comment that that he told his wife she couldn't get a divorce under Islamic law reminded me of the fate of Jewish women in NY who were told by their husbands that they would not receive a Get unless they accepted less-than-adequate marital settlements. For that reason, NY had to pass a law:

In July 1992, the State of New York passed an amendment to Section 236B of its Domestic Relations Law. Section 236B details a variety of factors that courts are to consider in setting spousal maintenance (alimony) and property division ("equitable distribution") in the event of a divorce. As presently amended, the statute now provides that one of the factors the court shall consider both in determining maintenance and in allocating marital property is the "maintenance (by one spouse) of a barrier to remarriage" (of the other spouse). While neutrally worded, "barrier to remarriage" clearly includes the withholding of a get and, indeed, this is exactly the situation the statute was designed to address. Thus, in effect, the statute provides that a court may condition the husband's receipt of property or the level of alimony on his cooperation in releasing his wife from the religious restraints of remarriage by his willingness to execute a get. In theory, the statute works in reverse as well, fully applicable in cases where women refuse to receive/accept gittin (though the so-called male agunah problem is somewhat less serious in view of halachic alternatives).

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