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The Law for the Settlement of Family Disputes (Temporary Provision), 5775-2014

In the summer of 2016, the law entitled “The Law for the Settlement of Family Disputes (Temporary Provision), 5775-2014” came into effect. This law aims to assist couples in divorcing by mutual consent and to prevent them from engaging in legal battles. To this end, the law created a mandatory mediation process that requires couples to give themselves a chance to divorce by mutual consent before they can apply to the courts and file lawsuits against each other.

Mandatory Mediation

Before the new law came into effect, all divorce proceedings were conducted in a judicial forum, unless the couple chose of their own free will to go through a mediation process. Today, the situation is reversed: couples are required to give mediation a chance within the framework of the court’s assistance unit, and only if this does not lead to agreements will they be able to apply to the courts, which will decide on their case.

The rationale of the legislator who created the mandatory mediation requirement was that a family conflict should be tried and resolved peacefully, especially when it comes to divorce proceedings, which involve great emotional difficulty for the couple and their children. In addition, the legislator’s aspiration was to reduce the number of legal disputes between couples and thus alleviate the heavy burden on the courts in Israel.

Application for Dispute Resolution

As mentioned above, couples who wish to divorce are required to undergo mandatory mediation before they can begin legal proceedings in the courts. In practice, this means that instead of filing divorce claims, couples must file an application for dispute resolution with one of the courts: the Family Court or the Rabbinical Court. Thereafter, the couple will be referred to the assistance unit of the court to which they applied, which will schedule them for several mediation meetings.

It should be noted that except for a few exceptions, after filing an application for dispute resolution, there is a stay of proceedings (usually for 45 days) during which the couple is prevented from applying to the courts.

For the first meeting of the mediation process, the couple arrives alone and then they can come with a lawyer. It is recommended to do so in order to effectively promote the settlement process on the one hand and to protect the couple’s rights in the divorce on the other hand.

Divorce Agreement

Needless to say, the ideal scenario for couples is that the mediation process in the assistance unit will lead to a divorce agreement, in which agreements will be reached on all the legal issues at stake. Indeed, this happens quite often. However, on the other hand, in many cases, this framework is not enough to bring about an end to the conflict between the couple.

What do they do in this situation? The couple has two options: one is to go to the courts and conduct the divorce proceedings there, or to give another chance to the mediation process outside the assistance unit. In other words, to contact a mediator lawyer who specializes in divorce mediation, who will focus and summarize the points of contention between the parties on each issue and offer them relevant solutions that are both legally and emotionally appropriate for them.

Additional Information

Here are some additional resources about the Law for the Settlement of Family Disputes (Temporary Provision), 5775-2014:

  • 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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