Rabbinic judges revoke alimony after husband proves wife cheated, too

A post-divorce settlement in which a man was ordered to pay his ex-wife alimony was revoked this week by a Rabbinic Court judge after the man presented videotaped evidence of his wife having sex with another man prior to the divorce, the Rabbinic Court Administration (RCA) announced Wednesday. Under Halacha, a woman is not automatically entitled to receive alimony, but in this case, after the man admitted to also being adulterous, the RCA had ruled in the initial hearing six years ago that the woman must be compensated by her husband, explained a spokeswoman for the RCA. "Now it's been proven without a doubt that she cheated on him too, so both of them will leave this marriage with nothing," said the spokeswoman. According to information released by the RCA, the Haifa-based couple's divorce proceedings began eight years ago and involved countless judicial hearings and appeals before the husband agreed to give his wife a get in 2003. However, the husband's admission that he had cheated on his wife caused the presiding judge to award her NIS 2,000 in alimony and order him to pay her NIS 30,000 based on their Ketubah (marriage contract). One year later, however, the man appealed that decision and presented the court with video footage of his wife with another man. The woman's lawyer contended the contents of the tape, claiming it was a fake, and the judge sent the evidence to be verified by the police. "After the police confirmed the tape's authenticity, and another round of hearings and appeals, the judge decided this week to revoke the woman's alimony payments from her husband," said the RCA spokeswoman, adding that it was very rare for a woman to be awarded alimony in the first place. It was unclear how much had already been paid to the woman. Susan Weiss, founding director of the Center for Women's Justice, condemned the ruling, however, calling it archaic and typical of the current patriarchal legal system. "The whole issue of whose fault the break-up of a marriage is has gone out of favor in most other legal systems," said Weiss, a lawyer by training and a pioneer in challenging the rulings of the RCA in divorce cases. "It's really hard to prove whose fault it is that a marriage has broken up, but to creep into people's bedrooms and spy on them is certainly not moving in the right direction."