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. 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. Mr. Alexander (the father) retained me as his attorney in Russia. The father explained how a recent DNA test was done, 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 (the mother), 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. Prior to submitting anything to the Moscow courts and as an attempt to try and solve things amicably between parties, I contacted the mother directly via email. I also wanted to gain some insight from the mother’s side of this matter. During our chat conversation, it was evident that the 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 Canada. I advised her 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 the mother failed, I began to collect and prepare all documentation required in order to submit to the courts in Moscow to have a court order in place for the father to be the registered father on 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. The Moscow’s 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 Mr. Alexander to be registered as the father 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 Mr. Alexander 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 via registered mail sent to her registered address in Moscow.
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 of the application to register Mr. Alexander on child’s birth certificate as the father.
11. During the hearing, the honorable Judge asked for the mother’s contact information so that the court clerk could contact her directly to advise her of the next hearing date. I provided the court clerk with the mother’s cell number. The notice about next hearing date will also be again sent by clerk via registered mail to her address in Moscow.
12. Once the court makes the order for Mr. Alexander to be registered as the father on child’s birth certificate at the local ZAGS, father 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 Moscow based on all evidence and facts presented. Russian child support amounts are based on the father’s income and concluded on a percentage basis.