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Family Law: termination of parental rights, rights of the child, child support. (Russia)

Question

I am turning to you for assistance/assessment concerning international parental child abduction committed by cohabiting partner...

Answer

The fact that your child obtained Russian citizenship despite being born outside the Russian Federation means you have consented to your child obtaining a Russian citizenship. This has allowed the child’s mother legally to take the child to Russia and remain there permanently with the child.

Article 3 of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, from October 25, 1980 states that removal or retention of a child is unlawful when:

a) it is in breach of rights of custody attributed to a person, an institution or any other body, either jointly or alone, under the law of the State in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention; and

b) at the time of removal or retention those rights were actually exercised, either jointly or alone, or would have been so exercised but for the removal or retention.

Breach of rights of custody mentioned in “a)” may either arise by law, judicial or administrative resolution, or as the result of a lawful, legally enforceable, contractual agreement between the parties.

In my professional opinion, in your particular case it is impossible to say one way or another that moving your child was unlawful, because mother and father have equal rights of custody, and there is no court resolution that would declare otherwise. According to the terms of the Treaty between our countries, one party may deny compliance with legal request of another party, if such compliance is contrary to legal principles of the country that denied the request. I can take your case and do everything possible to return your child, unfortunately, your chances to return your child are not that big as we would like.

With that said, you have an absolute right to take part in your child’s life. You are entitled, and may not be denied, visitations with your child. You may be entitled to weekly conversations with your child via phone or Skype. Russia has developed positive law on that subject.

Since your child is a citizen of Russia, he also has a registration in his county of residence. For a Russian court that will determine this case’s outcome, one determining factor will be the conclusion a social agency from the district where the child resides. If the child’s mother will try to abuse her parental rights and prevent you from communicating with your son, take bad care of him, restrict him from talking to his peers, we may bring the case for involuntary termination of her parental rights. In practice though, courts grant the termination of parental rights in extremely rare circumstances. However, such proceedings have an effect of discipline on parents who consider kids their “property”.

Please decide what you want to do with your case and I will be happy to support your position.

It will be my pleasure to help you.
Karina Duvall
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