(19) It is required to read the get [aloud] in the presence of the witnesses who observe its transfer. Afterwards, it should be given to her. If it was given to her in their presence first, it should be taken from her and read [aloud] after it was given to her.
[The following rule applies when the witnesses] read [the get] while it is the possession of the husband or his agent, and they return it to him. If he encloses it within his hand, [obscuring it from the witnesses' view] and then gives it to her, they should read it again.
(20) [In the latter instance,] if they did not read it, and it is taken and thrown into the sea or into a fire, the divorce is effective. Since [the witnesses] read it first, we do not suspect that it was exchanged [for another document]. Moreover, even if the husband said, "It was another document [that I gave her] and not the get that you read," his word is not accepted and the divorce is effective.
(21) [If, however,] they did not read the get beforehand, the husband gives it to [his wife] in their presence, and then it is thrown into a fire or into the sea, the status of the divorce is doubtful. [This applies] even if the husband says that it was an acceptable get.
(22) If he threw the get into [the woman's] courtyard, among barrels in the presence of witnesses, and when they looked for it they found a mezuzah or another document, we do not suspect that she [has been divorced]. [We assume that] the article that was found was the one that was thrown.
If two or three mezuzot or documents were discovered there, and we suspect that perhaps he threw a get and it was dragged away by mice, the status of the woman's divorce is in doubt.
(23) The witnesses who sign the get must know how to read and sign [their names]. If they do not know how to read, we read [the get] in their presence, and they sign, provided they understand the wording of the get.
If they do not know how to sign [their names], we write out their signatures for them on the paper with spittle or with other substances that will not leave a permanent mark, and they sign [their names] over these markings.
This practice is not followed with regard to other legal documents. It is a leniency adopted with regard to bills of divorce, so that Jewish women will not be forced to live without a marriage partner. [This leniency is granted] because the signature of witnesses on a bill of divorce is a Rabbinic institution, as we have explained.
(24) Although the signature of witnesses on a bill of divorce is a Rabbinic institution, our Sages ordained that the witnesses state their names in the get.
Similarly, they ordained that the witnesses to the get must sign in the presence of each other. If either signed without the other, [the get] is unacceptable.
Similarly, our Sages ordained that the date of a get and the place where it was written be recorded [within it], as is required with regard to other legal documents. [This was required] lest one's wife also be one's relative and she commit adultery. [Because of the husband's feelings for his wife,] he [might conceivably] write her a get after she had committed adultery and give it to her. If the get was not dated, she could say: "I was divorced before I committed adultery." [To prevent this from happening, our Sages] ordained that gittin be dated.
(25) In all the following instances, [the get] is unacceptable: a) a get signed by witnesses that is not dated, b) one that is predated, or postdated, c) one that was written during the day and signed on the following night; this applies even if they remained involved with the matter [of the divorce until the get was signed], d) the get was written in Jerusalem and [the scribe] erred and wrote [that it was written] in Lod.
[For a get to be acceptable,] it is necessary that it be signed at the time it was written and in the place where it was written.
(26) A get is acceptable if [the husband] cut off [the portion of the get that contained] the date and gave it to her, or did not write the date, merely [the week - i.e.,] the first or the second week of a given month, or he specified merely the month or [merely] the year without mentioning the month, or even if he specified merely the seven-year cycle [in which the get was composed].
Similarly, a get is acceptable if [the husband] writes within it: "Today I divorced her." This implies the day on which the get was released.
(27) Similarly, [our Sages] ordained that the year of the ruling kingdom of that time should be mentioned in a get to gain the favor of the ruling authorities.
[The following rules apply if] a person writes a get and dated it according to the years of a kingdom other [than that of his locale] or according to the years beginning from the Temple's construction or destruction. If it is customary for people in that locale to date [their documents] in this manner, it is acceptable. If this is not the local custom, it is unacceptable.
It has already become the universal Jewish custom to date gittin from the time of creation, or from the crowning of Alexander the Great, which is [the accepted means of dating] for legal documents. If one dates [a get] according to the years of a contemporary kingdom, it is acceptable only in the country over which that kingdom rules.
(28) [The following rules apply when] a person tells two [colleagues]: "Write a get for my wife, sign it and give it to her," and the matter was delayed several days or years, or the get was [discovered to contain an imperfection causing it] to be [considered] void, and it was necessary to write a new get that was acceptable, as will be explained. In such an instance, the date and the place when and where the get was written are recorded, and not the date and place when and where the husband told them to compose the get.
What is implied? If the husband told them [to write the get] in Jerusalem, in [the month of] Tishrei, and [the agents] delayed and did not write it until Nisan, at which time they were located in Lod, the get should be dated in Nisan, and Lod [should be recorded as its place], for this is where the get was written. [This is also the practice] with regard to other legal documents.