Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What does uncontested divorce mean?”
In an incredibly strange case out of New York, law enforcement officials have revealed that the FBI raided a yeshiva and a rabbi’s Brooklyn home earlier this week in an attempt to unravel a gang of rabbis who torture men into agreeing to divorce.
That’s right, according to FBI sources a gang of ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis have accepted thousands of dollars to kidnap and torture Jewish men to force them into granting their wives a divorce. Though the news is stunning, many familiar with the Orthodox community say they were not actually shocked given the serious issues the community has faced dealing with divorce.
According to the criminal complaint, two Orthodox rabbis, Mendel Epstein and Martin Wolmark, operated a scheme where they took payment (often thousands of dollars per case) in exchange for using violence and intimidation to convince reluctant husbands to grant their wives a “get”, a term that refers to a religious divorce in the Jewish community.
In the Orthodox Jewish community, a woman remains married unless she receives a get. That means that even if a family court in New York were to grant a legal divorce, the woman would be forbidden to remarry within her religion.
The case was ultimately cracked due to a sting operation where an undercover FBI agent pretended to be a woman desperate for a divorce with money to spend to force her husband to consent to a get. The woman was ultimately put in touch with Rabbi Epstein who told her that the kidnaping and a couple of hours of torture with an electric cattle prod would cost about $10,000 for rabbinical approval and another $50,000 to $60,000 to pay for the tough guys to do the threatening.
The practice, while strange, is not unheard of. Some experts say they grew up hearing similar stories of wives pushed to desperate measures in an attempt to end their bad marriages. An episode of The Sopranos even tackled the subject, with an Orthodox Jewish character hiring two goons to beat up his son-in-law to try and force him to agree to a divorce. Though divorce can undoubtedly turn into a contentious affair, it’s a real shame to think that any split should have to resort to kidnappings and cattle prods.
If you find yourself facing a complicated family matter then you need the help of experienced family law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce.
About the Author:
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on most aspects of Family law including: divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, and equitable distribution. Mr. Arnold is an experienced trial attorney who has tried jury and bench trials in both North Carolina District Court and North Carolina Superior Court.
Mr. Arnold grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence Senior High School and continued his education at Belmont Abbey College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating cum laude he attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time on the North Carolina Coast with his wife and three young children: two daughters and one son.
“Rabbi divorce “gang” reveals perils, complexities of divorce in ultra-Orthodox world, insiders say,” by Julia Dahl, published at CBSNews.com.
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