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Notion of Custody according to the Russian Law

US Department of State

Seattle Passport Agency

Re: Divorce of Parents of child [names keeps in secret]


1. I am writing to you to confirm that I am a licensed attorney in Russia. My registration number is 78/857. I specialize in Matrimonial, Family, and Immigration Law in the Russian Federation.

2. I am licensed by the Appellate Division, 2nd Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York as a Legal Consultant from Russia 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 Court of Appeals, and in accordance with the rules of the Court. I am often called to testify in the United States courts as an expert on Russian laws. I have provided many testimonies as a Russian Legal Expert in various foreign courts, especially, in United States (Exhibit 1).

3. My client addressed to me on September 20, 2017, and she informed me that US Department of State, Seattle Passport Agency required from her son the evidence of his mother’s legal custody over him.

4. For accurate application of the substantive law rules it should be realized that the notion of custody in Russian and English has a totally different meaning. In the Russian language and in the Russian law custody and guardianship are introduced in relation to infants and minor children left without care of parents.

5. In accordance with Article 31, part 3, of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, custody and trusteeship over minors are introduced if they do not have parents, adoptive parents, if their parents were deprived of their parental rights by the court, and if such citizens are left without parental care due to other reasons.

6. In the Russian Law, the conception of custody is not used in relationship between parents and children. The Family Code includes the conception of the place of residence of the child: the child can live with the mother or with the father. The parent residing without the child has the right to communicate with the child and to participate in his/her upbringing.

7. In accordance with Art. 65 Part 3 of the Family Code, the place of residence of children when parents live apart, is determined by agreement between the parents. Parties, at their discretion, come to the oral or written agreement on this issue, or settle the dispute in court. My client provided to me written consent which was signed by the father of child on July 25, 2007 in Moscow, the Russian Federation in front of notary public. He agreed for the permanent living his son with the mother (See Exhibit 2). By analogy with the American Law it means Legal Custody.

8. The marriage between parents of child was terminated on January 18, 2008 by judicial decision of Magistrate of Judicial Section # 1 of Moscow, Russian Federation. This judicial decision became effective on January 29, 2008 (Exhibit 3).

9. Divorce is supposed to be granted by the court if the judge finds the further marital life of the spouses and the salvation of the family impossible (Art. Art. 21, 22 of the Family Code of Russian Federation). Impossibility of marital life is the only and sufficient condition for the judge to decide on divorce. In contrast to American Family Law, the Russian court is not obliged to decide on other issues related to divorce, such as defining the place of residence of the children, child support, spousal support, division of property, etc. In accordance with the Family Law of the Russian Federation, these issues are to be settled separately: before, during, or after the divorce procedure.

10. During the divorce procedure the judge did not define the place of residence of child, because of the absence of dispute. The father did not object to the mother’s custody over the son. So, the mother is the Custodian Parent.

11. The mother is the legal representative of her son. In accordance with Art. 52 Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation, Articles 26, 28 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Chapter 12 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation, she has all rights to make any decisions with respect to her child without the permission of the father or any guardianship authorities. De facto it means that she has Sole Legal Custody over her child.

Karina Duvall
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.
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