Monday, March 19, 2012

ISRAEL: Unmarried Couples and the Law


Not every Jewish Israeli is religious and countless young unmarried secular couples like living together in order to try out whether the relationship works out. If yes, the couple may get married later on; if not, then the couple splits and the relationship is finished. No obligations and everyone will be free again. But is this really true ? 

A Canadian friend told me once that there is a law in Canada (at least in British Colombia) where partners of an unmarried relationship may claim inheritance in case one of the partners dies. Unbelievable, I thought and in Germany one must show a marriage certificate in order to inherit. 

Today I learnt that Canadian law seems to apply to Israel. Unmarried couples, no matter what age, living together in the same place and leading a marriage - like relationship, may find themselves in unconvenient positions. An unmarried couple living together for four or five months can already face obligations and court cases. 

For example:

Girlfriend and boyfriend living together, the boyfriend has to go to the army and is killed in action. In case the couple had live together for more than four or five months, the girlfriend may turn out as the main inheriter. Lets say the boyfriend owned the apartment, the girlfried is entitled to inherit the estate if the boyfriend didn't make a will or there is no further legal agreement. 

Problems also may occur in case the boyfriend / girlfriend throws his or her partner out of the house. Then the person thrown out may claim compensation for a certain time (three months or whatever the judge decides). 

The solution is that while you are deeply in love, not to loose your common sense. Before moving together, an unmarried couple should go to a lawyer and make an agreement in advance. Furthermore, if you have money or property, make a will. 

Another solution would be: Remain single and don't move in with anyone.:-)


  1. Or another solution would be to give it 3 months. If the couple is still skeptical after 3 months, time to separate. :)

  2. B"H

    I thought about that but you know what: Within those three months, both sides can just pull themselves together and show only their best behaviour. :-))) There may be a danger that you won't see the true character but only later.:-)))

  3. I have read on a book written by Michael Asheri in the eighties ("Living Jewish/Judaism" - guess was the title) that if a couple has lived as husband and wife after some time (not specified how long), then they are considered as married, and if separating, the woman must receive a get. So this may be halakha.

  4. B"H

    Actually the lawyer mentioned in his interview that the religious Knesset parties are responsible for this kind of law. The religious parties have the same opinion as the author you mentioned.:-)