Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Religious Divorce Oversea Is valid? Reflection On A Tax Decision

From Forbes:

A tax decision from the United States Tax Court addressed a tax matter in which marital status is an important factor. In the Estate of Semone Grossman, Semone Grossman, a successful businessman in New York whose gross taxable estate was around $87 million left the bulk of it to his third wife Ziona and for each of his six children from the three marriages. He left two hundred thousand to his first wife Hilda.

IRS disputed over the marital deduction making for a deficiency by arguing that Semone was not actually married to Ziona. Semone married Hilda and obtained a divorce in Mexico. He then married Katia in a civil ceremony in New Jersey. Hilda filed an action in New York and obtained a ruling that Mexican divorce was invalid and she was the lawful wife.  Semone, as a New York resident, regularly traveled to and married Ziona in Israel. In order to be legally married in Israel, they need a religious divorce - a get. Hilda cooperated in the process and marriage in Israel was successful. The tax court recognized the marriage in Israel and Hilda's cooperative divorce was valid.

Family law attorney sees the problem with this ruling. A family law attorney mentioned that Semone and Hilda's religious divorce had no civil significance in New York. The get process is so one-sided in favor of men. This tax decision, according to her, misapprehended multiple issues of New York State's law and constitutional mandate that there be a separation between church and state.

Read more here.

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