Did you know that in the United States, the probability of a first marriage ending in divorce is between 40%-50%, while in the United Kingdom, one in every three marriages that took place between 1995 and 2010 ended in divorce? In Israel the divorce rate is at around one third. Unfortunately, these figures have only grown in recent years. Therefore, when a couple gets married, the possibility of a future divorce is sadly neither impossible nor unrealistic.
With this in mind, when I recently wished a friend “Mazal Tov” on his daughter’s engagement, I broached the issue of prenuptial agreements in accordance with Jewish law. Though I discuss the topic all the time (not only with my kids, letting them know it’s a requirement as far as I’m concerned), I had never tried to encourage a rabbi, let alone a rosh yeshiva, of its importance. I was so relieved when my friend, a rosh yeshiva, turned to me and said, “Of course they’re signing one. People who don’t sign halachic prenuptial agreements are stupid.” I wish all my conversations on the subject were so easy, but the halachic prenup has not yet been accepted in all circles.
The purpose of the specific document, which must be done in accordance with Jewish law, is to make sure that no one person can blackmail another in order to receive a get, a Jewish divorce decree. Unfortunately, I have seen cases of this type of blackmail in my capacity as a financial advisor, so I know it happens. Such stories can be heartbreaking, with one side caught in limbo sometimes for many years.
So if you have a child getting married, make sure that he or she has a halachic prenuptial agreement signed well before getting to the chuppa. Even if your kids are too young to be in the dating world, start talking to them about it now, so it becomes just one more thing to check-off on the wedding to-do list.
Mazal tov, and may the bride and groom live happily ever after!
About the Author: Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the director of Profile Investment Services, Ltd, a financial planning firm located in Jerusalem. He specializes in working with clients in New York, Florida, and Israel and is a licensed financial professional both in the U.S. and Israel. Securities are offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, SIFMA. Accounts held at Pershing LLC., Member NYSE/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. Neither Profile nor PRG gives tax or legal advice. Before immigrating to Israel, it is advisable to consult with a tax attorney who is knowledgeable about Israeli law. Doug’s newest book The Expatriates’ Guide to Handling Money and Taxes is available at www.expatguidetomoney.com. He hosts a weekly finance show, Goldstein on Gelt, on internet radio. Listen live or download podcasts. Toll-free from U.S. 1-888-327-6179, Jerusalem: (02) 624-2788. Follow on Twitter: @DougGoldstein or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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