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Civil Marriage in Israel

Anat Levi
Anat Levi


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Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional

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The firm had a quick response to my last-minute needs, they were helpful in communicating with me in English, and they fulfilled my needs in a timely fashion.

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We were searching for a law firm that will be honest with us and really work hard for a satisfying result, it wasn't an easy task
We found them online; they were the only law firm from all of our searchings which were completely honest and NOT gave us just what we wanted to hear
Using them guaranteed honesty above all. A legal team that is friendly and cares for a superb result
They really care about helping their customers without any other interest
Nadia gave us service behind what we expected; she was professional which lead to fast and easy process with great result
We definitely recommend using them

Morgan Jones

The team at Decker, Pex & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!

Joshua Pex was both an amazing human being and an inspiring human rights attorney. I reported directly to him for various activities I performed as in intern. I was impressed with his incredibly solid character. He is trustworthy, fair, and goes above and beyond to advocate for the vulnerable. He is completely trustworthy and high caliber in his work. His partners and employees are very blessed to work with him. I am honored to know them.

Heather Lebrun

Lauma Zariņa

This is definitely the best lawyer I know!!! very honest and super helpful he really helped me a lot dealing with immigration issues in Israel and it was very successful!
I highly recommend

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Great Team. With no doubt, this office is actually thee best-leading office in Israel. Simply put, if you want your case to win, just join them, hand in your documents, and celebrate the victory.

Kindest regards,
Adi k.

Наталья Мажуга

Great lawyers Joshua Pex and Nechama and Michael Deker who really want to help you and I have very trustful relationships with them. All my cases they took they won. Thank you and let’s keep working together

Esty A

I had a consultation with Batya and she was very helpful. She made sure I understood all the information I needed, and was patient with me in gathering documents I needed.

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Courteous, clear, efficient service.

Genaan Abdelall

I cannot recommend Nechama enough! Her expertise, professionalism, and dedication to her clients is unparalleled. From the moment I reached out to her, she provided clear and concise communication, and helped me navigate through a complex legal issue with ease.

Throughout the entire process, Nechama went above and beyond to ensure that I was informed and comfortable with every decision. She demonstrated a deep knowledge of the law, and was able to offer sound advice that ultimately led to a positive outcome.

What sets Nechama apart is her compassionate and empathetic approach to her clients. She truly cares about the well-being of her clients, and it shows in the way she handles every case.

If you are in need of a lawyer, I highly recommend Nechama.

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Party time in the heart, my beloved husband received his residence after so much time of battles and faith. Gratitude, God has blessed us with wonderful beings who have accompanied us, including a "precious angel" who touched our hearts, our excellent and fantastic lawyer: Maria Chernin Dekel, sweet and wonderful human being, who has guided us and stayed On our side. side in this intense legal transit whom we bless on every occasion. God bless you dear Maria, you have exceeded your professional duty by containing us and collaborating with us in hard times, very hard, for that we want to thank you publicly, you are unique!!!
We bless and thank the entire team at Decker Pex Tal Ofir Law Firm.

Greg Olson

We highly recommend Adv. Mike Decker and have know him for many years. He has helped our family with many battles over the years. We recently received our permanent residency after 23 years in Israel. We so much appreciate Mike’s representation of us.

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Oded Ger did an excellent job by reviewing a modeling contract I was offered. Explained the bad clauses in the contract, and their possible consequences. Thank you for your amazing job, your professionalism, your consultation and honesty. You showed me from your experience how it can be done differently. It was the best decision choosing you as my lawyer.
I highly recommend this firm, especially Oded Ger.

Sergei m Vashkevich

We came to Mr. Joshua with so many questions (and most of all, with so many concerns and worries) …

When we explained our case to him, first of all, he calmed us down and helped us to see the big picture, which took away our fears;

Then he presented us with a detailed explanation and a few options to explore, and a timeline, how things work and necessary steps to undertake on our part,

We thank and highly recommend Mr. Joshua for showing us so much empathy, care and professionalism (!)

lynn vonne

Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.

Michael and Ariellah Waizman

For Advocate Joshua Pex.

We were in a devastating situation when my wife received an order from the immigration office to leave Israel within 30 days, without any explanation, after we have been married and in the process for six and a half years. We heard of Advocate Pex through a friend of a friend. We contacted Mr. Pex and he was ready to help us when he heard of our situation.

The service is amazing! Always ready to assist without regard to the time it takes. The advice Mr. Pex gave us was great, such as what to do, he gave useful links, and advice about which officials to contact. The price for the service was great!

The process until we received the extension for another year for my wife was not long (3 months). Things started moving once Mr. Pex came into the picture.

We highly recommend Advocate Joshua Pex! We achieved our goal and the fear of deportation has been lifted!

Israel iluz

We were very satisfied with the service of Nehama. She was very professional in all her dealings and kept us informed all the way.
We highly recommend this law firm. They proved to be reliable, efficient and pleasant to work with.

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We have been working with Decker, Pex & Co - Law Firm in Tel Aviv for many years very well. Because we appreciated their lawyers services, we recommended businesses and individuals again and again to go there as well.

Sveta Vashkevich

We (myself and my husband) came to Mr. Joshua Pex – for his professional advice – and we received such human warmth and caring attitude, that our hearts melted …

His attention to our details and our situation peculiarities, combined with his professionalism and knowledge, helped us to map out what needs to be done on our part: we appreciate and recommend You, Mr. Joshua!

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We were very satisfied with the consultation we had.
You were very straightforward with us , You tried to help us in every way you could . we really appreciate that.
And of course the fast reply we got from you on our emails and the appointment you gave us .
You deserve more than 5 stars????

TarcisioePotira Freitas

I really recommend the law office's services. The service is very professional and efficient, the price is right. I am satisfied with the services I needed and happy to have known them.

Arielle Bosch

Incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, accessible, and evident across the board that they truly care about the people they are helping. They are quick to respond, engaged, and obviously top-notch lawyers. I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Thank you, Joshua and Itamar for your help with our Joint Life Application. You were a calming energy during a storm - always breathed a sigh of relief after speaking with you. It is so difficult to get straight answers from the Misrad Hapnim, but you guys are straight shooters. I appreciate your candor and evident integrity. Hope to work with you in the future, and will send everyone I know in need of legal aid your way. Thank you for your guidance and support.

Michael Soffer

I would like to recommend Attorney Yehuda Elcharar. He assisted both me and my company in a complex lawsuit. He handled negotiations that led to a favorable outcome much quicker than expected.

I am extremely pleased with choosing Attorney Elcharar. Many thanks also to the office team, Oz and Chaya, for their assistance throughout the entire process.

Thanks again ????

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EU PASSPORT ! Big news! Thanks to Michael Decker and the other good people at the law office, as well as to the virtue of my ancestors, the cruelty of the Inquisition, reparations issued in the Iberian Peninsula, and etc, I am delighted to be on track for Portuguese and European Union Citizenship! A truly incredible development and one which brings me deep joy.

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competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended

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I admire the Austrian citizenship team in Tel-Aviv branch! They deserve more then 5 stars!! They are very friendly and professional. I've got Austrian citizenship in 4 months for all family members which consists of 12 people! The entire team is very friendly and responsive. They are always answering questions and support during the process. I recommend to everyone. Was 100% satisfied.

Michelle Long

Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!

Amir Abt

The best lawyer firm I’ve had dealt with. I would like to thank Anat Levi and Ariel Galili from the Jerusalem branch for all of their efforts and patience, we could not have been Able to reach to where we are now without them

Lilian Granovsky

I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.

Matthias Oppliger

I have been receiving services from this Law Firm for several years now and I want to say THANK YOU to the team, especially Joshua Pex. They are doing outstanding work. The services I have received for both our Israeli non profit association but also our social business have helped us solve many issues at hand and provided solutions in complicated situations. Personally, I am grateful for support in visa issues as a foreigner living now in Israel for many years.

Stuart Safft

I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.


We had a pleasure of working with Irena Rosenberg who assisted in getting our two U.S. born children registered in Israel and supported visa process for my wife in 2021. During the pandemic, my wife and I decided to move to Israel where I am originally from after living in the U.S. for over 20 years, but we had no idea how to go about securing visas before and after arriving in Israel. Irena is knowledgeable, reliable and competent lawyer who always had answers to all our questions which made us feel confident that everything would be fine with her assistance. We are now happily living in Israel and are so grateful to have Irena who is a genuinely nice person as our lawyer.

Dumitrascu Cristina

Best lawyer house from Israel! I couldn’t dealt with my situation without their professionalism and effectiveness. Their dedication to every legal aspect and their drive it’s how a true lawyer house can be!
Working in European market and international now, I couldn’t dare to let myself wide my wings on countries unknown to me. Definitely they’ll be the lawyers representing me, my business at every international aspect and on personal development.
When you hear Decker,Pex,Ofir &Co, you hear 10+ class services, luxurious professionals, confidentiality and exclusive attention to your needs.

Shaltiel Devorah

Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.

Paul Prince

The team of lawyers and assistants are incredibly professional. Aiming to give their clients the advice possible regarding the normative and the law of Israel. With well trained and professional secretary at the front desk to the lawyers team, I could say that I had one of the most professional services possible. I'm super glad of choosing Joshua Pex of Law office for immigration solution, lawyers to advise in my case, to me, it is remarkable.

Jacob Newberry

A really excellent firm. They knew exactly how to handle my situation effectively and efficiently, and we got the result I needed without much fuss. Adi Berger was a wonderful advocate for me and I am deeply grateful for her help!

Eden Weiss

Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, highly recommended

Tomer Hila Birnbach

I received a recommendation from friends about the firm, and indeed every word is correct, a service team, professional, welcoming, a fair price for the work I requested, I am satisfied

Gáspár Erőss

If you need to solve any complicated legal issue in Israel, don't hesitate to contact them. Otherwise you will loose hours/days/weeks with things that they can solve in minutes. They helped me to obtain my expert working visa in Israel and even after that they responded further questions and gave me advices related to administrative issues in Israel which saved me a lot of time. Irena Rosenberg and Michael Decker worked on my case, they are very professional and helpful. They will not let you down, feel free to contact them.

Dongdiet & Nellie

We are very happy with the services. Somehow they managed to translate the law lingo into language we actually understand 😉 and their outstanding YouTube videos helped us to have a better grasp of what process we had to go through. Their patience, clear explanation and experience are very valuable. It's also very nice to know that you will receive response promptly; it made us feel we can really trust their services. We recommend all those looking for immigration lawyers to get in touch.

There is currently no possibility to have a civil marriage in the State of Israel.

Civil Marriage in Israel

After the establishment of the State, the directive from the days of the British Mandate was adopted, although part of it was replaced by Israeli law. Nevertheless, sections of the directive are still valid even today. Article 51 in the King’s speech in The Palestine Order in Council, 1922-1947 states as follows:

Subject to the provisions of Articles 64 to 67 inclusive jurisdiction in matters of personal status shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this part by the courts of the religious communities. For the purpose of these provisions matters of personal status mean suits regarding marriage or divorce, alimony, maintenance, guardianship, legitimation of minors, inhibition from dealing with property of persons who are legally incompetent, and the administration of the property of absent persons.

We can see that in matters of “personal status,” which also include marriage and divorce, the religious court has the authority to decide on them and the verdict that it shall reach is the religious law.

From this we can see that there is absolutely no possibility to have a civil marriage ceremony in Israel.

Affiliation with a Religion

Affiliation with a certain religion will be determined by that religion.

It is possible that a person belongs to two religions (a person whose mother is Jewish and father is Muslim). In cases like this when that person has dual religion, the question is which religious law applies to that person?

In the case of dual religion, the test employed is the “effective religion test,” in which we examine the behavior and actions of the person and see which is the effective and prominent religion in his life. The religion to which he is most attached is the religion that applies to that person (Al-Safadi vs. Binyamin).

A person who belongs to a certain religion cannot claim that he does not want the law or jurisdiction of that religion to which he belongs to apply to him in terms of personal status.

For example: when a Jewish couple have a private civil marriage ceremony, they cannot claim that they do not want the Jewish law or the jurisdiction of the rabbinical court to apply to them (Rogozinsky vs. The State of Israel). Therefore, as we will see below, when the couple wants to divorce they will be forced to go to the rabbinic court for this purpose.

Marriage and Divorce of Jews

Since marriage and divorce  are related to personal status, for Jewish couples the authority to decide on these topics belongs to the rabbinical court and the law that applies here is Jewish law.

The Rabbinical Jurisdiction Law (Marriage and Divorce), 1953 states as follows:

  1. “Matters of marriage and divorce for Jews in Israel, citizens or residents of the State, will be under the sole jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts.”
  2. “Marriage and divorce of Jews will take place in Israel in accordance with Torah law.”

Torah law does not recognize the following types of marriage at all:

  • Marriage of Jews in a non-religious ceremony (civil marriage); however, in the case of divorce one must turn to the rabbinical court in order to receive a divorce ruling (Supreme Court on “Noah sons”)
  • Mixed marriage (only one of the spouses is Jewish)
  • Same-sex marriage

The only way for the couples listed above to get married is through a civil marriage ceremony, something that is impossible in the State of Israel. However, and as will be explained further on, different marriage options exist.

It is important to note that in marriage and divorce, even people belonging to other religions in Israel are subject to the religious law and religious court of the religion to which they belong.

Civil Marriage Abroad and Registration with the Population Registry in Israel

Since there is no civil marriage in Israel, the only way to have this type of marriage is to do so outside of the country. When a couple marries through a civil marriage in a foreign country, this marriage is accepted as valid only in regards to registration with the Population Registry in Israel.

In the case of Funk-Schlesinger vs. The Minister of Interior it was decided that registration in the Population Registry is a technical matter, thus if evidence of marriage is brought to the Manager’s Office (for example: marriage certificate from the place it was issued), they must register the couple as married in the Population Registry.

Even same-sex couples who got married in a civil ceremony outside of Israel will be registered in the Population Registry as married after presenting a marriage certificate as evidence that the marriage took place (Ben-Ari vs. Director of the Population Administration).

Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement by a Couple Married in a Civil Ceremony

Couples who married in a civil ceremony can draft a prenuptial agreement  (according to Property Relations Between Spouses Law, 1973 ) and bring it to the family court for approval, so as to prove that they are a married couple. Couples can present the marriage certificate they posses or, alternatively, they can present their registration with the Population Authority as married (Cohen vs. The Attorney General of Israel).

Spousal Support in Civil Marriage

Spousal support is connected with civil status and therefore religious law applies to it. Since, as a rule, Jewish law does not recognize civil marriage, no obligation of alimony to the any of the spouses applies.

Israeli law has made two rulings on this matter:

  • The spouses were Israeli citizens at the time of marriage

   In case 8256/99 Anonymous vs. Anonymous it was ruled that the matter of “civil alimony”

   would apply in the event that the couple separated:

The couple is not two passers by who encounter because of a car accident. The couple wanted to live a shared life together. The demands of integrity, considerations of decency, and a sense of justice by Israeli society lead to the conclusion that the obligation of paying alimony applies. This obligation has been recognized as a matter of public interest and must also apply to spouses, citizens and residents of Israel who have married in a civil ceremony outside of Israel while their marriage does not take place according to Jewish law.

   We see that it is possible that the financially “strong” spouse may be required to pay alimony to

   the “weak” spouse after the separation, and this is by virtue of the good faith principle.

  • The spouses are citizens of the country in which they were married (not Israeli citizens)

   When there is one party that proves weakness and financial need and the religious law of the

   second party exempts him from spousal alimony, it will be possible to require him to pay it by

   virtue of the “human dignity” principle which is based on a fundamental law: Human Dignity

   and Liberty. In such a case, that spouse will be required to pay alimony according to the

   provisions of the Family Law Amendment (Child Support), 1959.

Child Support in Civil Marriage

Child support is part of the matters related to civil status, and thus the religious law of each one of the parents applies to it. In the event that the religious law exempts a parent from paying child support, the provisions of the Family Law Amendment (Child Support), 1959 will apply to that parent, just as it states in Section 3(B) of the law:

A person who is not obligated to pay alimony for his minor children and the minor children of his spouse according to the provisions of the law that apply to him personally, or no law applies to him personally, must pay their alimony, and the provisions of this law will apply to those alimonies.

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