A Modern-Day Cautionary Tale of Adversarial Divorce
This post concerns the lengths to which some folks will go to obtain a divorce on their terms. It involves “religious divorce,” not civil divorce. A civil divorce is granted under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Davis & Mendelson handles civil divorce and family law matters. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals […]
This post concerns the lengths to which some folks will go to obtain a divorce on their terms. It involves “religious divorce,” not civil divorce. A civil divorce is granted under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Davis & Mendelson handles civil divorce and family law matters.
Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit upheld criminal convictions of three Orthodox rabbis who wanted to force a congregant to allow his wife to obtain a religious divorce. The rabbis had planned to kidnap the man.
The three rabbis were convicted of conspiracy to commit a kidnapping. The rabbis’ attorneys argued their right under the Fourth Amendment to privacy. The lawsuit claimed that the FBI’s gathering of mobile phone information without consent provided their whereabouts during the investigation. At trial, New Jersey prosecutors used the mobile providers’ data to show the defendants were “in the vicinity of locations” at which beatings of (other) husbands who refused to bow to their wives’ request for a religious divorce occurred.
Attorneys for the defendants argued that CSLI evidence acquired over a 57-day period was substantially the same as placing GPS tracking devices in the rabbis’ vehicles. Previous courts have said GPS tracking devices are considered an invasion of privacy.
However, the panel (less one judge) believed that the CSLI data was less intrusive than placing GPS tracking devices. The panel said that CSLI also has “shortcomings” when compared to GPS devices.
One of the rabbis was sentenced to 10 years behind bars. The rabbi is a recognized expert in divorce in the Orthodox Jewish religion. A second rabbi received eight years behind bars. The third rabbi, who was less involved than the other two in planning the kidnapping plot, received three years in prison.
This story is a tragic modern-day tale of adversarial divorce. Many divorcing clients today want to consider the benefits of collaborative divorce or mediation. We offer alternative dispute resolution services to our clients in search of a kinder, gentler path to divorce, equitable division of property, child custody, and more. Contact Davis & Mendelson to discuss your matter in confidence.