Prior to a man divorcing his wife by delivering into her hands a Jewish divorce (a get), a civil divorce must be obtained. The wife does not have the right to initiate such an action. The writing of the get is done by a Jewish scribe. A court of three rabbis is convened; also present are the scribe, two witnesses, the husband, and sometimes the wife. After a last-minute effort to effect a reconciliation, the scribe writes the get on a piece or parchment, spelling out the provisions of the divorce in twelve lines. The document is then attested to by the witnesses, and the husband hands it to his wife if she is present. The wife has to accept the get as well. If she is not present, the husband appoints an agent to deliver it to her. A member of the rabbinic court or one of the two witnesses sometimes acts as the messenger.
After the get is written and completed, a tear is made in it to assure that it will not be used in the future for other divorce proceedings. The actual handwritten get is not kept by the wife. It is kept in the files of the Bet Din (court), and the husband and wife are given official letters stipulating that they are divorced and may now remarry. It used to be that the husband could remarry immediately but that the wife had to wait 90 days (to ensure that she was not pregnant by her now ex-husband), but I'm not sure if that is still followed.