If either the husband or wife is unable to grant or receive the get in person in bet din, or simply averse to doing so, he/she can appoint a proxy to perform his/her role. Thus a proxy may be used if for example the husband or wife is abroad, and unable to fly back to Israel to sign the get, or if the husband and wife are loathe to be in the same room together. A get by proxy is also performed when there is a need to expedite the writing of the get, e.g. the husband or wife is about to leave the country, and if the get is not finalized before his/her departure, it may be difficult to track him down later for that purpose, or a recalcitrant spouse finally consents to the granting of a get, and any delay increases the risk that he may change his mind.
In these cases, the husband or wife appoints a proxy to grant or accept the get. This proxy, usually someone who works for the bet din, is granted power of attorney, and his legal actions are binding upon the person who appointed him, just as if the person had performed them himself. The proxy is appointed through a formal ceremony in bet din, which he, as well as the spouse who is appointing him must attend. This spouse must read aloud (once he understands it himself) a special written consent to the appointment of a proxy, and in so doing, he formally appoints the proxy to his role in the divorce process.
Once the proxy is appointed as described, the representative of bet din will meet with the proxy for the purpose of arranging the get. If the proxy is an appointee of the husband, then he will write the get together with the scribe and deliver it to the wife. If the proxy is the wife’s appointee, then he will accept the get from the husband.
A get by proxy is particularly common today in a case in which one of the marriage partners lives in Israel, while the other (generally, the husband) lives abroad. In such a case, the rabbinical court sends court representatives to locate the spouse living abroad, in order to receive from him in the presence of a temporary bet din, established for this purpose, authorization to arrange the get in Israel and for the court to give his wife a get in his name. This is how gets are arranged every year throughout the world, particularly in the FSU where permanent representatives of the rabbinical court sit who deal with personal status issues of Jews, including gets via proxy.
• When a get is given by proxy, there is an addition made in the text of the ‘ma’aseh bet din’, which reads essentially:
_____the son of ______ [the name of the proxy] came to the bet din, in his hand, the get and the special authorization from the husband, _______ the son of _______ to act as proxy, to divorce his wife, _______ the daughter of ________. The proxy, mentioned above, delivered the get to the woman, mentioned above, as agent of the husband, mentioned above, according to the law of Moses and Israel.