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

Question

Hi Karina,

My wife and I are filing for divorce and I wanted to request your consultation to determine if it is better to file in Russia or in the US.

Background:
I am an American citizen. My wife is Russian.
We have been married for 8 years and have two children.
We were married at ZAGS in St. Petersburg (our official marriage certificate is Russian).
We have resided in the US.

Question:
We are trying for an uncontested divorce and would like to agree on everything if possible and I would like to proceed so that everything is fair for my ex-wife and children. However I am concerned about the amount of spousal maintenance (alimony) that will be required if I file for divorce in the US.

This would be a fixed dollar amount based on my current earnings at my job here. However my plan is to move back to Russia following our divorce where I will do freelance / consulting work which might not be as stable as my current job. In that case I believe a % of my income would be more appropriate as I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to necessarily pay the fixed dollar amount based on my job in the US. I have heard that in Russia there is no spousal support but only child support which would be 25% of my income for each child. I believe that this would be a better situation given the circumstances.

So this brings me to my question(s)- is it possible for me to file for divorce in Russia? I could be the in person and feel comfortable communicating with the officials however my wife would likely not be present. What could I expect in terms of timeline and outcomes? In your opinion does it make more sense for me to file in the US or in Russia?

Answer

Because your wife is Russian, you can get divorce through the Russian Court.
By Russian law, if you have 2 minor children, you have to pay child support in 1/3 part of your salary. Usually, US courts recognize Russian Divorces, but do not agree with Russian child support. If your case will go to the US court, judge might be change Russian child support for fixed amount. So, best way for child support, to avoid unnecessary hearings, is settlement agreement about the child support issues. I can prepare it for you.

If you do not want, you can leave child support issue open. Russian law allows do decide only divorce issue. You can help voluntary to your wife. And she might be never file for child support.

If you have no disputes about property, it will be good to sign property issues agreement.

According to my professional experience, for you will be better to get divorce in Russia since Russian law has no requirement to decide other issues. So, you can get divorce really fast and not expensive. If you do not have any issues about child custody and visitation issues, you can have visitations with your kids without court order and pay child support without any order too.

Even your wife change her mind, you still can get divorce in Russia.

Russian judge never ask you to open all your finances, - in the United States you need to file special form to open everything.

According to the spousal support in Russia: in your case, by the Russian law, husband has to support his wife until your child become age 3 y.o.
These are big benefits from Russian law, if you have Russian spouse, you can get divorce really fast no matter what.

You do not have to go overseas for hearing, our firm will represent you. I need from you following documents and information:

- The Power of Attorney (I will prepare it for you);
- Copy of your passport;
- Copy of Russian passport of your wife (if you have in your possession);
- Copy of marriage certificate;
- Copies of Birth certificates of your children;
- Your address;
- Russian address of your wife.

I can handle your case for fixed amount.

If you want understand more about Russian Divorce, please do not hesitate to ask me everything which you worry about.
I will be glad to help you.
Karina Duvall
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