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Section 10A of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 was introduced to provide assistance to individuals who although divorced in English Law, are unable to remarry in accordance with their religious laws because the other party will not cooperate in obtaining a divorce in accordance with the usages of that religious law. For example where a Jewish husband refuses to provide what is known as a Get (Jewish Divorce) or a Muslim husband refuses to adhere to the pronouncement of Talaq (Islamic Divorce).

The English Civil Courts acknowledge the religious and cultural background of the parties in dispute, such that the Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act 2002 enables the courts to refuse to make a decree of divorce absolute unless a declaration is made by both parties confirming that the relevant steps in respect of the religious aspects of the divorce have been taken.

The case of Re AI and MT [2013] EWHC 100 (Fam) highlighted the courts approach to these kinds of cases. Here, we see the importance of the role played by the Beth Din within Jewish Family law when the English Court stayed proceedings in the UK to allow a couple to go through arbitration in the religious courts. Once agreement had been reached through the Beth Din arbitration, the High Court approved the agreement reached.

At Goodman Ray, we understand that there may be serious religious ramifications if the correct religious steps are not taken in relation to divorce. We therefore make it a concern to consider the role that religion and culture may play in obtaining a divorce.

Novlet Levy (Trainee Solicitor)

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