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Family Law: divorce proceedings, conclusion of marriage (Russia)

I am looking to get divorced from my wife, she is Russian and is currently living in St Petersburg, and has been for 4-5 years, we have 2 children 3 and 6 also who live with her.

The problem has been that we have a business and flats all purchased in St Petersburg using money I borrowed in United States, so have an outstanding mortgage which needs to be settled, but she refuses to sell any property in Russia.

We have 2 apartments and 1 guest house business, she lives in 1 apartment and receives rent from the other apartment They all been purchased and refurbished using money from U.S., although 1 apartment was originally a gift from her mother but was sold and renovated and then sold again and another one purchased and again money from New York sent to renovate, so I would hope I have some claim over this property also.

Is it possible to force a sale of 1 or 2 properties to repatriate some money to the U.S. to settle all the debts I have. As I don’t want my children to suffer I would want them to stay in the flat they have and continue to receive the rent from the other. Maybe the guest house could be sold and money sent back to United States so I could pay off my debt here?

How could I have access to see my children, could they be allowed to visit USA for holidays?

What would be the quickest solution to this problem. What are the costs involved, what documentation is required?

Thank you for time and consideration.


Thank you for your payment. As I promised, I will be able to give you a 20% discount.

I can make divorce for you, and after that we can file Property, Debts, and Visitation issues. Divorce proceeding in Russia will take 3-4 months. You may resolve all issues (divorce, property, debts, and visitation issues) at the same time also. In that case you will get a divorce simultaneously with an order regarding custody and equitable distribution. Decisions of such cases usually take from 6-9 months in the courts of the Russian Federation.

Please let me know whether you want to resolve these issues separately or simultaneously.

In accordance with Articles 38 and 39 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation in the event the matter gets contested, equitable distribution of jointly owned property as well as the spousal shares of that property is decided through the courts. The distribution of the property and the determination of the spousal shares are considered to be equal unless defined by a previously executed agreement. During equitable distribution of property, joint debt is also distributed in shares proportional to the shares awarded to each party by the court. That is why your spouse’s share in the joint property may be lowered in light of the credits that you have received. The availability of said credits will have to be proven by proper documentation.

In accordance with Articles 139-141 of the Civil Procedure Code of the Russian Federation, at the request of the parties involved in the case, the court may enact provisional actions. Provisional actions are allowed in any case, where failure to enact such actions may complicate or make impossible to execute the courts final decision. Some of the ways provisional actions are enacted may be the arresting of the property belonging to the defendant The request to arrest the joint property may be submitted at the same time the suit for the divorce is started, in case the request for the provisional actions is granted, your wife will not be able to do anything you’re your joint property until the court issues its final decision regarding equitable distribution.

At the same time, you may dissolve your marriage in Russia in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation. In order to do this I would need to obtain from you: a power of attorney, your marriage certificate, and the birth certificates of your children. If your marriage was registered in Russia, I will be able to obtain the above referenced necessary documents by using the power of attorney issued by you. However, if your marriage was registered in a foreign country, and/or your children were born in a foreign country, then you must obtain a duplicate copy of your certificate of marriage/divorce with an apostille and forward them to me. Under the Laws of the Russian Federation you may dissolve your marriage separately from the issues of custody, visitation and equitable distribution.

The advantage of the separate judicial reviews of these matters is that you will get the divorce in 3-4 months and will be able to build your future life without your spouse. For many of my clients this is a very important point.

As far as the visitation issue. You will be able to see and visit your children and participate in their upbringing. We can ask the court to allow the children trips outside the country; however you should keep in mind that the Russian courts are very concerned about the fact that often the children are taken out of the country by their parents and regularly refused to be brought back to Russia. In your case the situation may be significantly aided by the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects if International Child Abduction, which Russia is already a member of. Still, it is problematic to obtain permission for a child to be able to travel internationally. We will attempt to do everything possible to obtain such permission. At the same time, you have an absolute right to see and visit with your children on the territory of the Russian Federation, several times a year and communicate with them via Skype on a weekly basis. I have a very sustainable positive experience in resolving these types of issues.

In consideration of the above, I will be able to assist and aid you in your matter.

Articles and consultations authored by attorney reflect the state of law as of the date of their writing. The laws change daily. Users of this site are advised to consult attorney regarding their situation.
Karina Duvall
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