CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LAW CONCERNING DIVORCE: THE CONDITION OF WOMEN AND THEIR EMPOWERMENT
AbstractThis paper examines the condition of women in religious systems, specifically their freedom to leave a marriage in countries where marriage and divorce are ruled by personal status laws (such as Israel and Islamic countries), and the efforts to accommodate religious specificities and practices in different legal contexts, which adopt a secular, multicultural approach. First, the paper considers the nature of religious and civil divorce, comparing a private, a public, and a mixed private/public approach. Second, it analyzes the forms of dissolution of marriage in both religious systems (identifying some aspects of gender disparity) and secular systems (where gender equality is constitutionally required). Finally it compares the juridical tools for civil enforcement of religious divorce and for solving family disputes that are offered in different legal contexts (in Israel, Islamic countries, Europe, and the USA) and that are intended to rebalance the exercise of a woman's freedom to leave a marriage and its conditions.