Chained to a Dead Marriage: Courses of Action
This course treats the knotty issue of women whose husbands refuse to grant them a divorce (mesuravot get) and suggests various mechanisms for addressing this problem. Students will become acquainted not only with the legal, halakhic, and civil tools that can be applied to these situations but also their conceptual foundations.
The course examines cases brought before the rabbinical and civil courts and the different defenses and aids employed by women in both settings. It explores torts claims, the economic or social sanctions that can be imposed on the husband, denial of civil rights, and cases in which even more radical steps, such as imprisonment, can be taken. Also studied are various court proceedings that facilitate unilateral ending of a marriage; the use of deterrents and restraining orders; agreements; and preventive measures that can be taken to avoid refusal to grant a divorce. Attention will also be devoted to the public sphere: what constitutes appropriate public activity on behalf of such women and the role of society in improving their situation.