Family law

The Family Court in Israel is a court that hears various disputes between family members. The list of issues that the court deals with is very wide and covers many aspects of family law, such as marriage, divorce, child custody, alimony, division of property. The competence of the Family Court also includes consideration of civil claims between family members on property issues, when the reason for the consideration of the case is a family conflict, and the amount of the lawsuit is not limited.

The Family Court Act defines a list of individuals who are considered family members:

  • spouses, including people living together, as well as former spouses, in case when the essence of the claim concerns relationships during the marriage;
  • children, including adopted, as well as children of both spouses;
  • parents of both spouses, including spouses of parents;
  • grandchildren;
  • spouses’ grandparents;
  • siblings, including brothers and sisters of spouses.

The following matters fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Family Court:

  • maintenance or accommodation claim;
  • paternity or maternity claim;
  • claim for children return – such cases are possible in situations where one of the parents of the child has foreign citizenship and takes the child abroad without the consent of the other parent.

It is important to know that if one of these claims is filed in another civil court, it will be set aside or referred to the Family Court for further consideration.

In the process of hearing cases, the Family Court is guided by the following laws:

  • The Law on the Marriage Union, which defines the legal status of the marriage, the peculiarities of marriage and divorce, as well as the rights and obligations of spouses;
  • Marriage Age Law which defines the legal age for marriage;
  • The Law on Name which regulates the rules, procedures and restrictions regarding the choice of a name and a surname;
  • The Law on legal capacity, guardianship and trusteeship which defines the rights and obligations of a guardian, trustee and legal representatives in relation to individuals deprived of the opportunity to independently manage their affairs and property. Also this law regulates the issue of relations between a parent and a child, as well as the specifics of the child’s departure from the country;
  • Age Determination Law which establishes the rules and procedures for determining the age of citizens in the legal, educational and social spheres;
  • Inheritance Law which establishes the rules and procedures for the transfer of property after the death of the testator;
  • The Law on Jurisdiction in Cases of Termination of Marriage (Special Cases and International Jurisdiction) which regulates the issues of divorce proceedings for spouses of different religions;
  • The Law on property relations between spouses which regulates legal issues related to property;
  • Adoption of Children Law which defines the rules and procedures related to the adoption of children, determines the allowable age for an adopter and a child, and also contains a list of conditions necessary for adoption;
  • Domestic Violence Prevention Law which establishes the norms and measures for the prevention, detection, suppression and response to cases of domestic violence;
  • Childbearing Agreement Law (approval of the agreement and status of the newborn) which regulates the process and conditions for the transfer of embryos from biological parents;
  • Witness Protection Law which regulates the measures that must be taken to protect a witness, including changing his name, address, restricting access to his personal data, etc.;
  • The Egg Donation Law which regulates the rules and procedures for women who wish to donate eggs for reproductive use.

This is a short list of matters handled by the Family Court.

Special attention should be paid to the area that relates to issues on the property division.

Property division is a complex and live issue while divorcing and it is often accompanied by emotional experience. Sometimes one of the parties, feeling offended and wanting to take revenge on the other, intensifies negative emotions. The legislator took into account the difficulties that spouses in conflict relations may face, and for a number of reasons (for example, in order not to harm the children involved in the process), provided that court hearings in family cases should be closed, that is, without outside witnesses in the courtroom.

The Law on Property Relations between Spouses regulates the method of division of the property acquired by spouses during their marriage, and puts them into two categories:

  • those who entered into a marriage agreement before the marriage, in the course of marriage or while preparing for divorce;
  • those who did not have such an agreement.

Thus, Article 3 of the Law establishes that if there is no marriage contract or other agreements between spouses, their property is recognized as “joint property”. It means that any property acquired or made during the marriage is considered to be common for both spouses. At the same time, in case of divorce, the court proceeds from the principle of a fair distribution of joint property between the spouses. The court takes into account various factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition and improvement of the property, the financial situation of each spouse and the children, and other factors to determine fair distribution of property.

The purpose of property division in accordance with Article 5 of the Law is to ensure a fair and balanced resolution of property relations between spouses in order to take into account their individual circumstances and needs.

In case of dissolution or termination of marriage due to the death of one of the spouses, each of them has the right to half the value of all the property with the exception of:

  • property that belonged to one of the parties before the marriage or was received as a gift or inherited during the marriage;
  • pensions paid to one of the spouses by the National Insurance Institute, or compensation due to one of the spouses (for example, under a marriage agreement), because their value will not be balanced between them.

It is important to note that the right to half the value of the common property goes to the spouses until the dissolution of the marriage in the rabbinic court, or in special cases when the marriage is terminated through the Family Court, but provided that one year has passed from the date of filing a claim for the dissolution of the marriage with the competent court, termination cohabitation or division of the property.

So, in order to ensure the full protection of your rights in these controversial issues, it is better to contact a lawyer who specializes in this area. They will take care of your protection and will be able to defend your interests in court as efficiently as possible.

Marital status
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