Judge Orders Couple To Erect 'Divorce Wall'

It's court-ordered cohabitation for a New York couple.

Judge Orders Couple To Erect 'Divorce Wall' Valery Sidelnykov / Shutterstock

Have you ever gotten the feeling that some people either take their positions of authority too seriously, or really try to morph their current job into the one they wish they had?

As an example of the latter, a male flight attendant on a flight I once took from Jacksonville, FL to New York, NY was convinced that he was a stand-up comic, and had some shctick regarding air travel and class distinction. I'm going to let you assume that it was fresh and held up a mirror to society.


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Meanwhile, a public figure may have overstepped his bounds in a more high-stakes milieu.

In 2010, a real Shecky Green of a judge in Williamsburg, NY (that's hipsterville, USA) told a splitting couple to put up a "divorce wall" in their Victorian home to formally separate themselves from each other, as the husband had refused to move out.

The couple, Pinchs and Nechama Gold, were Orthodox Jews who had been together for 21 years. Things, however, just weren't working out anymore.

The Golds had two weeks to agree on where it should go or the court would decide for them. That seemed fair.


I mean, deciding where you should put up a wall in your home so that you know which side of the house you can avoid ever seeing your spouse in again is not really akin to, say, deciding who will take custody of the kids in a divorce.

A few things remained up in the air, however. Like, who gets to be on the side with the bathroom and who gets to be where the kitchen is? Both of these things would be pretty essential to making a final decision, I imagine.

Although, according to Mr. Gold, Mrs. Gold already was making him sleep in the dining room, so maybe his side had already been decided? 

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It was also not clear what the wall would be made of. Would it just be some simple cardboard or perhaps something more permanent, such as bricks? 

Frankly, I believe that a sheet with a hole cut in it should be enough.

A roommate and I once split our apartment with a piece of masking tape, but that wasn't over a serious dispute. I was just letting him know where AwesomeVille started and SuckTown ended. Unfortunately, I was the mayor and police commissioner of SuckTown.

Unfortunately, New York is the last of the lower 48 states to still forbid no-fault divorces, so the couple had been forced to find a way to blame each other for the separation they both so desperately desired.


Per the legal aces, the home was big enough that they would be able to go about their separate lives without bumping into each other too much.

As Gold's brother, Rabbi Mendel Gold, said, "This could be called the divorce wall. It could probably even help healthy couples." Although if you need to put up a literal wall between you and your significant other, then your relationship already most likely isn't exactly what one would describe as "healthy."

Mrs. Gold's lawyer also weighed in, saying, "It's a large house, so I think we can come up with some sort of agreement. But she wants him out." 

Finally, didn't they try this in War Of The Roses? I recall an ending in which Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas ended up dead beneath a fallen chandelier. Oh, well.


Oddly enough, living with an ex is a not uncommon experience in NYC, as the rent is awful enough that sometimes you keep on cohabiting even after a breakup.

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Tom Miller is a writer and performer based in New York. He's been the general manager and coordinating video producer at YourTango for 12 years. His side-chick is acting and improvised comedy.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on July 2010 and was updated with the latest information.