Family law : divorce and division of property. (USA)
1. I married my wife in 1999 in the USA and we have been resident in
USA since 1999.
2. We are now going through separation and divorce proceedings under US law.
3. In 2003 we bought an apartment in St. Petersburg. 50% of the money (around US$120’000) came from the sale of an apartment owned jointly by my wife and her mother the other 50% came from me.
4. I know the address of the apartment but I have no documents belonging to the apartment – they were all taken by my wife. But since then I have obtained a professional valuation of the apartment and a certificate from the official registry that shows the apartment is registered 50:50 in the name of my wife and her mother. My wife does not know that I have these documents (the Russian title of the document showing ownership is “Управление Федеральной Регистрационной Службы по Санкт-Петербургу и Ленинградской Области / Выписка из Единого Государственного Прав на Недвижимое Имущество и Сделок с Ним”
5. There is a second property which is a room in a Kommunalka in St. Petersburg. My wife has also taken all the documents to this property and unfortunately I do not know the address.
6. It is possible that my wife has bought a third property in St. Petersburg – I have no proof, this is only a suspicion because I recently discovered she has probably transferred around US$120’000 to Russia in 2007
7. Under US law any property is divided between the spouses on divorce. Any property owned before the marriage is kept by the respective spouse and is not divided.
1. Would the decision of a US court be of any relevance to a Russian court?
2. The divorce is taking place in US so what kind of case could be opened in Russia?
3. Must I be present?
4. What papers from me are required?
5. How can I stop my wife disposing of the properties (selling, changing the ownership, withholding documents etc.)?
6. How to get my wife to give me the details of the second property (the room in a kommunalka)?
7. When would be the appropriate time to start an action?
8. How long would the action take?
9. What would be the approximate costs (court costs plus lawyer’s fees)?
10. The mother of my wife lives in the apartment and the uncle of my wife lives in the kommunalka – does this have any effect?