I know that without a Get, there are severe limitations on a woman in terms of remarrying (or even just getting pregnant IIRC) but what are the implications on a woman and a man beyond the issue of remarriage?

If an older woman divorces her older husband and no Get is given, and neither has any interest in remarriage, what is the practical consequence on each of not having a religious divorce?

  • They ask a similar question about chalitza -- is it a mitzvah or simply a matir. Say she's 85 and not interested in remarrying ...
    – Shalom
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 13:17
  • 1
    Of course the biggest reason to do it is remarriage (as the Torah says explicitly); even if neither think they'll remarry, plans may change in a hurry (and by then, the other spouse is unavailable or unwilling to do a Gett). Human beings are like that.
    – Shalom
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


Until the Get is given they are husband and wife.

So, she may not have relations with anybody, that would be adultery and the offspring would be a mamzer.

Other practical consequences?

  • They would have to follow the laws of mourning if either died; tearing Kria, sitting Shiva, etc.
  • The husband is halachically obligated to feed and house her.
  • The husband could annul her vows.
  • They have no issue with Yichud, and can be secluded without a chaperon.
  • They could "become husband and wife" in the full sense of the word without further ado. Even if the husband is a Cohen.
  • If they have step-children, (from a previous marriage), their step-children would still be obliged to respect their parent's spouse.

I'm sure there are more.

  • 1
    If I recall, Mesoras Moshe Volume 2 asks about Shiva where the couple was estranged and in the prolonged process of negotiating for a Gett. Tough situation. I think Rav Moshe says there's still the full laws of mourning, as you said above.
    – Shalom
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 13:00
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    "Obligation to feed and house" is not so simple once she's moved away. Before the RCA prenup, there was the proposal to translate the Kesubah in English and have the courts enforce it ... one objection was precisely this.
    – Shalom
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 13:02
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    Inheritance is potentially a big one.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 13:34
  • @DoubleAA ah, right. Though practically in America today, the same way the Beis Din of America would say "minhag hamedina" is that if the couple got a state marriage license in New York, they expected equitable distribution ... could you say that if they got a civil divorce, there's an unspoken expectation that this would affect the inheritance as well? (Touches on the question of whether someone needs a halachic mechanism beyond just writing a will...)
    – Shalom
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 13:43
  • 3
    In the case of an older woman who is no longer niddah, getting the get reduces any yichud issue with her to rabbinic, which can be useful when questions begin coming up with home-aid workers and such.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 14:07

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