Facts: The parties were divorced in 2004, pursuant to a divorce judgment which, by agreement, incorporated the decision of a beis din. The beis din‘s decision addressed issues such as child custody and visitation, education of the children, and financial matters. Also included in the beis din‘s decision was the following provision:
If the arrangements for a Get will be made between Plaintiff [wife] and Defendant [husband], Plaintiff shall pay for Get fees incurred.
After the divorce, the wife filed a motion in the New Jersey family court seeking to compel the husband to provide her a get. The court granted the motion and ordered that:
Defendant [husband] shall cooperate with regard to providing a Get in accordance with the decision of the Bais Din.
Issue: The husband appealed, arguing that:
- The beis din never actually ordered him to give a get.
- The court’s order was unconstitutional, because it entangled itself in a religious matter and violated the husband’s right to free exercise of religion.
Held: The appeals court ruled in favor of the husband. The language of the beis din‘s decision clearly omitted any order to give a get. As a result, the lower court’s order constituted “impermissible judicial involvement in a matter of religious practice.”