Friday, January 04, 2013

Civil Court May Enforce Pre-Nup Penalizing Husband For Failing To Grant Wife A Jewish Divorce

In Light v. Light, 2012 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2967 (CT Super, Dec. 6, 2012), a Connecticut trial court held that it has jurisdiction to enforce a pre-nuptial agreement requiring a husband, in case of a separation, to pay his wife $100 per day until the husband grants the wife a Jewish religious divorce (get). Rejecting the husband's contention that the prenuptial agreement was a religious document that is not enforceable by a secular court, the court held that it can adjudicate the claim using neutral principles of law:
a determination as to whether the prenuptial agreement is enforceable would not require the court to delve into religious issues. Determining whether the defendant owes the plaintiff the specified sum of money does not require the court to evaluate the proprieties of religious teachings. Rather, the relief sought by the plaintiff is simply to compel the defendant to perform a secular obligation, i.e., spousal support payments, to which he contractually bound himself.

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