British court accepts N.Y. rabbinical court’s divorce ruling

(JTA) — A British court accepted a New York rabbinical court’s ruling in a dispute between a haredi Orthodox man and his ex-wife over their two children.

The ruling by a judge of the London-based High Court of Justice last month was the first of its kind in England and Wales, according to a report last Friday in the Jewish Chronicle.

The couple, who married in 2006 and separated in 2009, were due to appear before the British judge to determine custody issues concerning their children but had sought arbitration by the New York rabbinical court, or beth din, before their court date. They were supposed to move to Toronto but ended up staying in the United Kingdom, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

The beth din gave custody to the mother and said both parents would decide on their upbringing, including in medical, religious and education matters.

Justice Baker, whose first name was not given in the Chronicle report, examined the beth din’s principles and ensured that they matched English law. The beth din had published its full ruling in 2011, but a final settlement was made only last year.

In making the judgment, the British judge ruled that the beth din result could not be legally binding in England in order that it not supersede English law.

"The outcome was in keeping with English law, whilst achieved by a process rooted in Jewish culture to which the families belong," Baker said.

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