Family Law in Israel

What are Israel's family laws?
The area of family law deals with all issues related to family life and personal status, such as marriage and divorce, parenthood, alimony, adoption, etc. Often, life's circumstances create a need for legal representation in Israel for people who do not reside in the country, whether due to matrimony laws, inheritance or other issues. The need for an Israeli lawyer skilled in Inheritance law in Israel or any other family law is crucial in the field of family law, since in Israel, this field is distinguished from other legal fields in two respects:

First – in terms of the judicial instance competent to discuss family law, since Israel has parallel judicial systems, of both religious courts and civil courts. Family law actions in Israel are litigated before the civil court of family affairs, or before the religious court system of Israel.
The rabbinical court, for example, has parallel power to litigate in the field of Jews' family law, including issues of divorce, and also has unique and exclusive jurisdiction to discuss the matter of the Get itself; however, when dealing with the divorce of a mixed-religion couple, one of whom is Jewish, the rabbinical court is not competent to litigate the case, but only the court of family affairs. This was also determined in High Court of Justice 9476/96 Sargovi v. the Jerusalem Regional Rabbinical Court et al.
Second – in terms of substantive law sources, since family law in Israel derives from both civil law and religious law, the type of law and the religious judicial instance are determined in accordance with the religious affiliation of the parties.
With respect to inheritance, the civil law can be applied, in which case the proceedings will be managed with the Inheritance Registrar and the civil courts, or the religious court may be applied, with the parties' agreement, in which case the proceedings will be managed before the religious court.
Some common family law issues include dealing with divorce cases, including alimony and determining custody of minors, preparing divorce agreements, prenuptial agreements, household peace agreements, preparing last wills and dealing with litigation cases in courts and rabbinical courts. This requires an attorney specializing in this field and familiar with Israeli law, to manage the client's affairs, whether he resides in Israel or, to an even greater degree, if he resides abroad.

Claims under the jurisdiction of the family affairs court
Pursuant to Sections 1 and 3 of the Family Affairs Court Law, 5759-1995, the family affairs court is competent to discuss, among other things, marital status actions, actions between family members dealing with a domestic conflict, alimony claims, residence claims, fatherhood, motherhood, return of kidnapped minors, custody rights, education, visiting rights, ensuring contact between a minor and his parents or a minor's departure from Israel, determining age, adoption, preventing domestic violence and more. These are all part of life and require legal consultation and representation, even if one of the parties, or both, do not reside in Israel but are Israeli citizens.

Israel's religious court system
The State of Israel has a separate religious court system for each religious community recognized by the state: Judaism – the rabbinical court; Islam – the Shariah court; Christianity – the Christian court; and the Druze religion – the Druze court. These courts are competent to discuss family matters pursuant to their religious rules.

Character of family law claims
Family law claims are highly complex, since they usually involve complex, charged relations between the parties as well as strong emotions, which often break out in crisis. In this field, feelings often outweigh economic, business and rational considerations, which makes it very difficult to manage the proceedings between the parties, and even reduces the chances of solving the conflict through arbitration and/or outside court. Unfortunately, family law conflicts sometimes even deteriorate into the criminal area, due to violence between family members, forgery and fraud etc.
Therefore, and in order to settle disputes in this complex field, whether in or outside the court room, an Israel lawyer dealing in family law must possess both profound and complex legal knowledge and excellent interpersonal skills and a high level of emotional intelligence; these are necessary to bring the parties to the best solution for them, as quickly and with as much dignity as possible. Naturally, this holds even truer when dealing with a conflict between partners with shared minor children, who are responsible for taking care of them together for a long period of time.

Eli Shimony - Israeli law firm representing clients on all civil legal issues in Israel. For any questions please contact us and we will be happy to assist.
Email: [email protected], Tel: +972-52-2769773, +972-3-5507155.

The above article is a general information only and it is not intended to replace a legal advice. 

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Eli Shimony Attorneys-at-Law specializes in the fields of Israeli civil – commercial and intellectual property law. Our firm deals with consultation and legal representations for transactions and contracts. In addition, our firm deals with providing consultation and managing intellectual property cases such as: registration of trademarks, registration of patents in Israel, protection of copyright and commercial design, consulting businesses with intellectual property and representing them in court.