Legal defense in court in civil cases including: divorces, child support, the alimony obligations, adoptions, inheritance proceedings. Legalization of foreign divorces, search of divorce records in Russia, ex-USSR, United States. Registration, legalization of documents, apostilles. Restoration of certificates of marriage and divorce, of birth and death in Russia, the former USSR, USA, Europe, Australia, and other countries.

Declaration of Karina Duvall

I, Karina Duvall, if called upon to do so, could and would testify competently to the facts set forth herein as these facts are within my personal knowledge.

1. I am an attorney and Member in Good Standing of the bar of St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. I have 17 years of experience in the practice of Matrimonial, Family and Custody Law of the Russian Federation. My registration number in Russian Bar is 78/857.

2. I am licensed by the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York as a legal consultant on Russian law, pursuant to Section 53(6) of the Judiciary Law of the State of New York, as limited by Part 521 of the Rules of the New York State Court of Appeals, and in accordance with the Rules of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department.

3. I also have been designated as a Foreign Legal Consultant, pursuant to Rule XI, Section 8 of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio. Accordingly, I may render legal services in Ohio to the extent authorized by Rule XI. My registration number in Ohio Bar is 91893.

4. I am often called upon to testify in United States courts as an expert on Russian family, custody and matrimonial law. Documents evidencing my right to practice law in the Russian Federation, New York and Ohio are attached hereto. My clients are individuals of all nations who need expertise in Russian family law.

5. I have been asked to review and opine on the legal ramifications of the parental/custodial relationship under Russian Law between Irina Maximovna Ivanova (“Irina”), and her daughter, Darya N. Ivanova (“Darya”), as it relates to Darya’s immigration to the United States.

6. Under child custody laws of the Russian Federation, the government bodies responsible for administering a grant of custody are the “guardianship authorities”. Guardianship authorities are defined under Article 121 “Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children Left Without Parental Care” of the Family Code of the Russian Federation as the governmental bodies entrusted with the administering of the care and placement of children left without parental care.

7. In the case of adopted child Darya, her natural parents, due to neglect were “deprived of parental rights” on May 13, 2004 by the Perovo District Court and her protection was entrusted to local guardianship authority, the Perovo District Municipality.

8. It is clear that the guardianship body, in this case the Perovo District Municipality, is vested with the authority under Russian law to “select the forms suitable for the accommodation of such children, left without parental care”. (Article 123 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation).

9. Moreover, the Russian Family code does not contemplate the guardianship bodies themselves maintain custody over the child, specifically delineating the role of the guardianship body as transitionary: “Children left without parental care shall be subject to placing for upbringing into a family … [u]ntil children left without parental care are placed for upbringing into a family … the duties of the children's guardian shall be temporarily imposed upon the guardianship and trusteeship body.” Russian Family Code Article 123, Sec. 1, 2.

10. On October 28, 2004, the Perovo District Municipality granted full and unrestricted legal custody of Darya to Irina, in Resolution No. 265, 10/28/2004. I have reviewed Resolution No.265 dated October 28, 2004 of the Municipality “On placing of the minor Ivanova Darya Nikolaevna under guardianship” and can confirm that this is a lawful and customary grant of guardianship, namely, they were granted primary care, control, and maintenance responsibility of Darya by the appropriate government entity pursuant to the laws of the state or country of residence under applicable Russian Civil and Family codes (articles 31, 32, 34-36 of the Civil Code of Russian Federation, articles 145, 146, 148, 148.1 of the Family Code of Russian Federation). This is analogous to what we define in the U.S. as “custody” – in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation, as described below.

11. In accordance with Article 32 part 2 of the Civil Code of Russian Federation, Article 148.1 of the Family Code of Russian Federation, Articles 2, 15 of the Law № 48-FZ dated on April 11, 2008 “On guardianship” the guardian is the legal representative of the child and the guardian performs on behalf of all legal actions for the child. Guardian protects the rights and interests of the child without special powers.

12. In accordance with Article 11 part. 1, 2 and 6 of the Law № 48-FZ dated on April 11, 2008 “On guardianship”, guardianship with regard to minor children establish in the cases provided by the Family Code of the Russian Federation. The guardianship authorities appoint the guardian with his or her consent. Relationship between the guardian and child begins from written decision of the guardianship authorities.

13. The January 21st Adoption Decree, Honorable Judge Stepanova, L.N of the Perovo District Court of the city of Moscow presided, indicated the final and legal adoption of Darya by Irina on said date. The Court Decree further confirms the custody of Darya: “[B]y virtue of Resolution No.265 dated October 28, 2004 of Perovo District Municipality, the applicant was appointed as a guardian of the minor Ivanova Darya Nikolaevna. Under Russian law, this is a further official recognition that starting from November 25, 2004 Irina and her husband have resided with, cared for and raised Darya, as well as maintained legal control and oversight of her.

14. As legal custody holder, Irina has all rights to make any decisions with respect to her daughter without the permission of any guardianship authorities (article 148.1 of the Family Code of Russian Federation). Moreover, Legal control of the child by the parent granted guardianship is also established in Art. 52 of the Civil Procedural Code of the Russian Federation, Articles 26, 28 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

15. Whereas the definition of legal custody under U.S. Federal Regulations means the assumption of responsibility for a minor by an adult under the laws of the state and under the order of the appropriate government entity, the procedure undertaken by Irina for her daughter wherein Irina was granted custody by the Perovo District Municipality, which in Russia was the appropriate government entity, as described above.

16. Based on the above-referenced sections of the law of the Russian Federation, Irina has now had custody over Darya for 11 years.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

Karina Duvall
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