When most marriages crumble, the house is usually sold and the couple go their separate ways.
But when Pinchs and Nechama Gold both refused to leave in their bitter divorce battle, the courts found a unique way round the impasse.
A judge ruled the Orthodox Jewish couple, in their 50s, had to build a ‘divorce wall’ down the middle of their home to formally separate themselves
The couple have both refused to leave the marital home and have been told create separation barrier by building a demarcation or ‘divorce wall’
They have two weeks to agree where it should go, or the court will decide for them.
How they will split up essential features such as the stairs, the toilet, the bathroom and other amenities such as their kitchen have yet to be determined.
What is also not clear is what kind of form the wall will take – Judge Eric Prus did not stipulate whether bricks and mortar or a sturdy piece of thick cardboard would suffice to carve up the huge Victorian property in the Williamsburg area of New York, which has a large Orthodox Jewish community.
‘This could be called the divorce wall,’ said Rabbi Mendel Gold, Mr Gold’s brother. ‘It could probably even help healthy couples.’
The Brooklyn court’s order comes toward the end of the Gold’s bitter divorce battle which has seen a series of claims from either side.
The couple married 21 years ago, but after years of marital strife Mrs Gold, who says her husband verbally abuses her and their five children, wants him out. He refuses.
She also claims he blows out the candles she lights for Shabbat, the day of rest in Judaism.
Mr Gold claims his wife hides his medications and has banned him from the bedroom, forcing him to sleep in the dining room.
On May 18, her lawyer asked the court for temporary exclusive occupancy and they have been rowing about the house ever since.
‘They’ve been living like there was a wall up for two years now,’ said Abe Konstam, an attorney for Mr Gold.
‘This just helps them completely avoid each other.’
He added: ‘If she’s so religious, why does she refuse to get divorced the right way — in a beth din,’ a reference to the religious tribunal that grants Jewish divorces.
Under Mr Gold’s preliminary plan, his wife and children will remain in the rooms they are in now and receive about 700 more square feet because they will live with her.
‘It’s a large house, so I think we can come up with some sort of agreement,’ said Mrs Gold’s lawyer, Brian Perskin, adding: ‘But she wants him out.
By DANIEL BATES