Orthodox rabbis go to bat for prenuptial agreements

The prenuptial agreement, widely endorsed by centrist Orthodox authorities in 1994, commits a husband and wife to seek arbitration from a Beit Din, or religious court, in the event that they want to dissolve their marriage. It also fines the husband a significant amount — usually $100 — for each day that he refuses to go to arbitration.

Sparking the need for the development of prenuptial agreements was the rising rate of divorce and the growing number of cases in which husbands withhold the get, or halachic divorce, as a bartering chip.

Now the rabbis' statement says, there is a need for its wider implementation.

"We are painfully aware of the problems faced by individuals tied to undesired marriages," they wrote in their statement, which was first developed at a December 1999 conference. "Many of these problems could have been avoided had the couple signed a halachically and legally valid prenuptial agreement at the time of their marriage."