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I understand that King David would ask his warriors to give a conditional get (divorcec) to their wives prior to leaving for war. This way, if the wives did not hear about their husbands after the war was over, the wives would not remain agunot (women who can't remarry because their husband disappeared without giving a get), as the get would take affect at a certain time.

Someone I know is a Jewish army chaplain who is frequently sent to dangerous areas such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq and other similar places. Occasionally he is with the troops during battles. He is away from home for months, sometimes a year at a time. He has considered the idea of giving his wife a conditional get, knowing well, that if he appears home after the time in the get, it would mean that his wife is divorced or even married to someone else. He knows that risk. He is wondering if there is anyone who currently can facilitate authorizing a conditional get.

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Is he a Kohein? – Double AA May 9 '14 at 16:08
@DoubleAA why would that matter? Haven't learned all of Gittin, but I know that priests have more stringent laws about this, is no conditional divorce documents one of them? – Baby Seal May 9 '14 at 16:14
DanF I would have him contact the Beth Din of America – Double AA May 9 '14 at 16:21
@GershonGold - true, but largely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. DoubleAA was hinting at a way to get around the issue without a conditional get. – Yehuda May 9 '14 at 17:01
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Given that this is not an every day scenario, I don't think you'll find many Batei Din who will as a matter of policy issue conditional gittin. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean they will never issue them.

Rabbi Howard Jachter has an excellent pair of articles here and here that surveys more contemporary approaches to handling cases such as these. In the article, he posits that a conventional get followed by remarrying afterward is preferable according to many than a conditional get under normal circumstances.

Occasionally, however, a situation arises where it is appropriate to use a conditional get of some sort or another. He concludes that one should consult a Beit Din to determine which of the options he highlights should be used in a given case.

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Will have to view the sources later. Good to know that someone contemporary has addressed this issue. – DanF May 9 '14 at 16:45
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote about how to do a pre-war conditional Get in EH4:111. This was May of 1967, probably intended for American soldiers headed off to Vietnam. Sounds like he intended for the procedure to be used; I don't know if it was. – Shalom Dec 25 '14 at 1:07

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