Prenups Are Not Enough

Prenups Are Not Enough

Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann’s Opinion piece, “A Long-Term Solution To The Agunah Problem” (Nov. 11), asserts that the prenuptial agreement, which is in wide use by Rabbinical Council of America rabbis, is a panacea/solution that resolves the get (religious divorce) problem.

This is misleading. The prenup, while it may have good intentions, is almost impossible to enforce.

The Beth Din of America and the RCA cannot force a recalcitrant husband to pay the “fine” imposed by the prenuptial agreement. Additionally, enforcement of the prenuptial agreement has yet to be adjudicated in civil court. Even if the civil court were to enforce the payment of a “fine,” the husband could claim that he was forced to give the get, thus nullifying the get.

The Beth of America and the RCA need to focus their halachic expertise to find a way to free women from marriages that are essentially over.

Unscrupulous husbands use their power to withhold a get for purposes of extortion, control and revenge.  Too often the Batei Din and individual congregational rabbis take the side of the husband and in so doing contribute to the blackmailing of women to cede custody of their children as well as economic security.

Signing the prenuptial agreement is not a guarantee that an Orthodox Jewish woman will not become an agunah.


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