I, KARINA DUVALL, attorney, of Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, affirm that:
1. I am an attorney admitted to practice law in the Russian Federation in 1999. I have over 15 years of high-level experience in the Matrimonial, Family and Civil Law of the Russian Federation as well as in International Law.
2. I am also 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 am often called upon to testify in United States and Canadian courts as an expert on Russian law. Documents evidencing my right to practice law in the Russian Federation and New York are attached. My clients are individuals of all nations who need expertise in Russian law. I specialize in Family and International Private Law and my area of expertise is complex multi-jurisdictional family and matrimonial cases.
4. I am the respondent’s attorney in Russia, and as such have personal knowledge of the facts hereinafter deposed to except where those facts are stated to be based on information and belief, in which case I verily believe the same to be true.
5. I was retained by father as his attorney in Russia. The father explained how a recent DNA test was done in Germany and a child, a Russian National, was confirmed to be his child. The father explained how he was now seeking his parental rights to his child through a court order as amicable discussions with the mother of his child, had failed on many attempts. I reviewed all documentation and confirmed that the first step required would be to obtain a court order to have his name put on the child's birth certificate.
6. On December 2017, prior to submitting anything to the St. Petersburg courts and as an attempt to try and solve things amicably between parents of child, I contacted mother directly. I also wanted to gain some insight from mother’s side of this matter. During our chat conversation, it was evident that mother had no interest in solving things amicably and also had no interest in solving this through the courts in Russia. She repeatedly stated that she will only have this matter go through the courts in United States of America. I advised mother that the father will be proceeding with this matter in Russia in order to have the child support amount set and more importantly for the father is his parental rights and visitation with his son enforced if and when necessary.
7. After the amicable attempt with mother failed, I began to collect and prepare all documentation required in order to submit to the courts in St. Petersburg to have a court order in place for the father to be the registered parent of child’s birth certificate. For a party to be registered with the Vital records offices (a.k.a. ZAGS) in Russia, only the Russian courts can order this to be enforced legally.
8. On January 2018 the Vyborgsky Court district accepted jurisdiction and set hearing. This hearing was to be the first step in the proceeding in order to have the court make an order for father to be registered as parent on child’s birth certificate. As previously explained, this is the first step required in this proceeding because the birth certificate now does not show father as a legal parent to child. No further proceedings to determine child support and parental time can be done without this being done first. In my experience, I see nothing in this case that would persuade the Russian court not to make this order. As such, once the order is made, we can proceed with the determinations of child support and parental time.
9. The mother was informed about upcoming preliminary conference dated via registered mail sent to her registered address.
10. The mother failed to appear in the court and there was no one else appearing on her behalf as her representative. Therefore, the judge re-scheduled the hearing.
11. Once the court makes the order for father to be registered as legal parent on child’s birth certificate at the local ZAGS, he will again use my services to apply for the next hearing where we will ask the court to determine parental visitation time and a child support amount. The parental time and child support amount will be decided by the honorable judge at the hearing in St. Petersburg based on all evidence and facts presented. Russian child support amounts are based on the father’s income and concluded on a percentage basis.