Visitation Rights

Below are readers' questions about 'Visitation Rights', which we have chosen to answer. More detailed information on 'Visitation Rights' can be found on our main website, Family Law in Israel.

You should file an application to the Family Court for a family dispute settlement and ask to set visitation times between you and your grandchildren. According to a 2012 amendment to the Legal capacity Guardianship Law 1962, the court is allowed to give a decision in a grandparent's application for contact with a grandchild, if it deems that it serves the child's welfare.

If your divorce agreement does not provide a mechanism for your  child to maintain contact with the parent with whom he does not go on holiday, then the two of  you are free to negotiate terms, such as phone and computer contact. If you come to written agreement on this, you can even have it authorised by court. Should you fail to do so, however, one or both of you can apply to court to ask it to intervene and decide on the issue of contact between you and your son while he is abroad with his mother.

It is quite normal for Israeli courts to decide that children should spend their time more or less equally with both parents during school holidays.

If the US divorce agreement was authorized by court in the States, and recognized in Israel by way of a “Mirror Order”, at the family court, which made it valid and enforceable in Israel,too, then the process is simpler, as you can make an urgent application to enforce your visitation rights under the agreement now and there is a chance that visitation could go ahead this Christmas (2015), especially if there are built in sanctions for breach of your visitation rights, which could act as a deterrent to your "ex" breaching them . If no Mirror Order was obtained at the time, you can make an urgent application for visitation rights, at Chanukah, at the IIsraeli family court, and ask for indirect recognition of the US court authorized judgment, there rather than going through the longer and more complicated, full-blown Mirror Order process. If you miss out on Christmas visitation, you should be able to get the Easter visitation enforced.


Yes ! A family court can certainly impose sanctions against a mother who systematically flouts a father's visitation rights. In an extreme case, in September 2008,Rishon LeZion Family Court ordered the money to pay the State 1,500 NIS every time she prevented the father from exercising his visitation rights (Family File11615/08).In a case in 2002 Kfar Saba Family Court,in another extreme case,also fined a mother 1,500 NIS every time she failed to allow the father to exercise his visitation rights.

Reduce opportunities for direct interraction, by, for example, opting for arrangments whereby he picks up your mutual child straight from nursery, or school, on a Friday, so that you only have to meet him when he returns the child, on Saturday. The presence of a neutral, third party can help.

Firstly, if there is an active appointment of a local authority court welfare officer (social worker) who was delegated powers to deal with visitation, as part of the divorce judgment, then you should contact her, to see if she can solve the issue. If not, you can bring action against you wife to enforce your visitation rights, including contempt of court proceedings, for violation of the judgment, which normally helps.

Ask the court to appoint a social worker and delegate its powers to her to decide on disputes concerning visitation. This will also have the added effect of not taking up the court's valuable time with dealing with issues better handled by a social worker.

The norm is once or twice during the week, for a few hours each time, with overnight visitation alternate weeks. Parents may, however, agree on other visitation arrangements.

Only if you get court permission. You will have to file a reasoned application well in advance, and be prepared to provide guarantees concerning the children's return, if requested.

Around two - courts rarely award fathers overnight visitation if the child is under this age.

Include an expert opinion on Israeli law as part of your submissions in the proceedings in the States, to counter the various lies and false claims made and list various mechanisms to safeguard against child abduction and guarantee the minors' return which can be included in any order granting permisison for visitation in Israel.

Our legal practice is experienced in providing expert legal opinions on Israeli family law in proceedings overseas. For example, in July 2015 a Jewish father in the UK gained permission to exercise visitation in Israel in family law proceedings in Manchester despite his ex-wife's objections, and several of the mechanisms included in a legal opinion prepared by our law practice for him were adopted by court in the order.



In general, the visitation schedule will alternate such festivals so that one year the children will spend Erev Pessach with the mother, and the next Erev Pessach with the father . The child will usually spend the 'second' holiday during Pesach with the parent he/she did not spend Erev Pessach with, for balance. Children may spend time during Pessach week with both parents.

Alternative arrangements can be made about festivals, by mutual parental consent, of course.

No – only the court can take away the right to overnight visitation granted. However, you are entitled to request this, and even ask the court to appoint a welfare officer to investigate the issue,as part of the proceedings. In extreme cases, where a danger to the child could exist, e.g. if sexual abuse is suspected, an urgent,even ex-parte application, can be made to halt visitation,or for it to be held under supervision,or at a special communication centre.

Where the parents have very different levels of religious observance their children could be exposed to mixed messages about conduct on Shabbat (Saturday, the holy day of the week for Jews) which is potentially harmful emotionally. Accordingly,  a rabbinical court dealing wih visitation might specifically refrain from setting Shabbat visitaiton.

Much will depend on whether there is any reference to this in your divorce agreement. If it is silent,and you cannot reach an amicable agreement with her father about this, then either you or your ‘ex’ can apply to court for instructions, regarding sharing the ‘burden’ (either financially, or in terms of actual transportation), or for a change in visitation arrangements that is more convenient, given the current circumstances.

You can file for visitation rights at the family court in Israel. The court will appoint a professional to make recommendations and a report concerning visitation,to help it rule on the case.

As you live abroad the special assistance units attached to the court can be used, and the court may ask its professionals to set times and arrangements for visitation,even during any trip you make to Israel to co-incide with court proceedings,until it rules on the matter itself. Your 'ex' can be explicitly ordered to allow you to meet your son outside the home and can face proceedings for contempt of court if she fails to honour any decision.

Yes, probably, as he will not automatically lose his visitation rights, but he may not be able to see them freely. Much will depend on the circumstances . Where a non-custodial parent is violent it is quite ikely that only supervised visitation will be allowed, possibly at a special communication centre.