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Chained to a marriage

About 40 miles northeast of Hamilton, an Ohio man sells his services as a life coach to individuals and companies. He says on his website that his goal is to help people reengage in life, reduce their stress and increase their energy. He wants to "illuminate blind spots, and foster shifts in thinking" in his clients.

One person who wants to foster a shift in his thinking is his wife. She is apparently engaged in a social media campaign with members of the Jewish community to try to shame her estranged husband into giving her a "get." That's the document allowing her to get a divorce under Jewish law, Forward.com reports.

The website says that without a get, an Orthodox Jewish woman is "chained" to her marriage as an "agunah." As an agunah, she cannot put her marriage behind her and she cannot remarry Chabad.org notes.

In a video posted recently on YouTube, his wife, who lives in Israel with the couple's five children, explains the difficulties of life without a get. "My dad left -- he abandoned us -- when I was 16 years old," one of the daughters says.

"I'm stuck in a prison," the man's wife says. "I can't move on; I can't continue; the kids never had a chance to have a stepfather and a new family."

Chabad.org says "in the overwhelming majority of cases," a get is granted and the parties carry on with their separate lives. Neither one can remarry unless the get is granted and the divorce finalized, "so arranging for a get is within the best interests of both parties."

Men who refuse to grant a get have "effectively ruined the lives of innocent people." Not only their spouses are affected, but also their children and -- without a doubt -- they are themselves harmed. After all, if their refusal sours their relationships with their kids, they have lost one of the most precious things in life.

These are extraordinary circumstances in marriage. However, experienced family law attorneys know what it takes to help a client get through divorce with an uncooperative spouse. There can be contentious disagreements over child custody and property division best navigated with calm and knowledgeable legal counsel.

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