A Jewish man claims he is being discriminated against because of his religious beliefs in a ‘very acrimonious’ divorce from his estranged wife.
Alan Moher, 54, was ordered to hand over a £1.6million lump sum to wife Caroline, 46, by the Family Court as well as £1,850 per month in maintenance payments until he grants her a ‘Get’ – a document that officially ends a marriage under Jewish law.
Mr Moher, however, claims a Get must be granted ‘freely’ and only when financial ties between a couple are ended, adding the maintenance payments would therefore invalidate the religious divorce.
The couple who have three children, split up in 2016 after 21 years together.
Mrs Moher said the Get would be valid because it would immediately end the monthly payments thus cut off financial ties between them, meaning there is ‘no good reason to withhold it.’
Mr Moher is fighting to get the Family Court ruling overturned claiming it has ‘trapped’ him in the marriage and will leave him paying her maintenance ‘indefinitely.’
He further argued the £1.6million payout was ‘unfair’ because it was 85 per cent of the family’s wealth.
Lawyers for Mrs Moger say the lump sum was fair because the husband had ‘failed to provide adequate disclosure’ of his finances.
Lawyers for Mr Moher said,
‘The phraseology of the order prevents the husband from issuing a Get.
‘It is something which has to be given freely, after financial ties between the parties have come to an end.
‘The imposition of a financial sanction on a party, in a bid to force them to grant a Get, invalidates the Get under religious law.
‘The husband is thus left in a position where, due to the element of compulsion placed on him by the order of the court, he is unable to grant a valid Get.
‘The judge’s order means that, after paying the lump sum in full, the husband is obliged to continue to pay spousal periodical payments to the wife in the sum of £1,850 per month – until he gives her a Get.’
However Sally Harrison QC, for Mrs Moher, said, ‘It was reasonable for the judge to make an order which enabled the wife to be supported financially until such time as the Get was obtained.
‘As the judge made clear, the order would be discharged once the Get was given and there was no good reason for the husband to withhold the Get.
‘The husband was invited to give the standard undertaking in relation to the Get. He declined to do so.
‘In such circumstances, it was open to the court to consider how to enforce compliance. Any difficulty would be of the husband’s own making.’