More than two decades ago, a couple exchanged vows and welcomed two children into their lives. However, after 12 years of marriage, their relationship hit a breaking point, leading them to divorce.
As part of the divorce agreement, their property was divided, and alimony was settled, effectively concluding their legal ties.
Unexpectedly, a few months after the divorce, the former couple found themselves living together in the same apartment. Despite the odds, they managed to coexist for 11 years, trying to make it work for the sake of their children. But as time passed, their relationship once again crumbled, and they were back at the family court in Beersheba.
Back to the court: Divorced couple has property dispute after 11 years of a rekindled relationship
The man insisted that their cohabitation was a mutual arrangement, living as roommates, and claimed there was no romantic involvement or financial entanglement. On the other hand, the woman, represented by lawyer Avi Gefen, rejected the man's narrative, arguing that their relationship resembled that of a romantically-involved couple, entitling her to a share of everything acquired during the second phase of their relationship.
Gefen sought a declaratory judgment confirming that they had been in a relationship at this time, including sharing financial responsibilities.
In response, the man maintained that their relationship during this time was merely that of roommates, with no further commitment attached.
He asserted that their primary goal was to provide a stable environment for their children, and their rekindled relationship was not legally binding. He further claimed both of them had relationships with other partners and did not share finances.
However, Gefen presented evidence to the contrary.
Testimonies, including one from their child, indicated that the couple indeed shared a bedroom during this period and behaved like a family. Numerous photos and videos showcased them engaged in activities akin to a married couple, with romantic gestures further substantiating the woman's claim.
Moreover, evidence revealed that they made several joint real estate transactions during this time, including buying and selling an investment property and renting another apartment together. Despite having separate bank accounts, they managed household finances jointly, without keeping track of individual expenses. Additionally, the woman withdrew funds from her pension account, some of which she transferred to the man's account.
Upon examining the evidence, the judge at the Beersheba Family Court rejected the man's claims and upheld the woman's narrative. The judge ruled that during this second relationship, the two shared their finances, indicative of a mutual commitment to the well-being of their family.
Accordingly, the judge determined that all rights and assets accumulated during this time – including pension funds, retirement grants, insurance, and more – should be divided fairly between the parties.
In addition, the judge ordered the man to pay NIS 35,000 in court fees due to his behavior during the trial, including failure to comply with court instructions and causing delays.