לקביעת פגישת ייעוץ

Background of the Minors’ Custody Process

As is known, the process of appointing a custodial parent and determining visitation rights is not simple, and often many divorce cases are not closed due to bloody struggles over the identity of the custodial parent and over determining and expanding visitation rights for the other parent. The classic visitation times, when there is no joint custody, are: two meetings during the week, each meeting lasting between three and six hours and sometimes even with an overnight stay, and every other weekend when the non-custodial parent picks up the minors from the educational institutions on Friday and returns them about an hour after the Sabbath ends, or on Sunday directly to the educational institutions.

Often, when there is no agreement and a healthy and proper communication system between the parties, the court will encounter a problem when it comes to determining who will be the custodial parent and how to determine visitation rights with the other parent. In such cases, the court will refer the parties to the assistance unit, which is a body that assists the court in all matters related to minors and visitation rights, and/or will appoint a social worker for legal proceedings, who will have the authority to submit an opinion/report on the parenting capacity of each of the parties. In most cases, these opinions are a decisive basis for the court to decide how to determine who is more suitable to be the custodial parent and how to determine what the visitation rights will be for the non-custodial parent accordingly.

The guiding principle for the courts and the rabbinical courts when deciding on the issue of custody is the “principle of the child’s well-being”. Here it is important to emphasize that this principle is voluminous and it can be seen that every judge and rabbi who deals with it pours into it his personal view, his legal positions, and sometimes even different gender principles can be identified, for example, the rabbinical courts will prefer children over the age of six to spend a long time with their father, due to the religious obligation of the father to teach his son Torah and commandments himself. Therefore, and since the principle of the child’s well-being changes from composition to composition, it is important to consult with a professional lawyer who is familiar with all the strategies and all those involved in the field, in order to know what is the best way to act, in order to reach the desired results.

It is important to emphasize that the court is not bound by the recommendations of those professional bodies such as the Ministry of Welfare and the assistance units, but nevertheless, the common approach is that the court accepts, adopts and gives effect to those recommendations with minor changes. Therefore, the conduct vis-à-vis those professionals is very important and should be accompanied throughout the way by a professional and experienced lawyer who is familiar with the intricacies of the system.

Often, many parents underestimate the influence of those professional bodies mentioned above, and do not devote the attention and seriousness required to proper conduct towards them, which leads to undesirable results that are then very difficult to change. It is important to remember that in many cases, those reports and opinions on parenting capacity are the ones that tip the scales and determine the bottom line regarding the identity of the custodial parent and the determination of visitation rights.

Additional Information

Here are some additional resources about the minors’ custody process in Israel:

  • The Israeli Ministry of Justice website: <כתובת URL לא תקינה שהוסרה>
  • The Israeli Bar Association website: <כתובת URL לא תקינה שהוסרה>
  • The Association of Family Law Advocates in Israel website: <כתובת URL לא תקינה שהוסרה>

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