Just as halakha, Jewish Law has established a formal procedure or ceremony for the creation of a marriage, it has established a formal procedure for the ending of a marriage. It is one of the most ancient of Jewish rituals, and is described in the Torah (Deut. 24, verses 1-4). While as US citizens, we first and foremost abide by the jurisdiction of the state courts with respect to divorce, in addition we follow our religious tradition by obtaining a GET. In Jewish Law, the marriage must be formally ended by a ghett before remarriage for either party can lawfully take place. Thus, Jews who have been married and are undergoing, or have completed, a civil action for divorce, annulment, or dissolution, should have a ghett. If the marriage ceremony was civil or non-traditional, the gett should nevertheless be obtained.
Generally, the ghett is done after the civil decree is final; if the parties wish to arrange for the ghett before the civil decree, they may do so with the understanding that the ghett will not be final until the civil decree becomes final.