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Upon marriage registration the spouses by all means may take measures for saving their property harmless in the event of divorce. In case of non-availability of a contract between the spouses, the property acquired in wedlock will be divided in equal parts. The spouses may choose the contractual basis for the spouses’ property, thus saving themselves harmless from possible proper disputes in the future and saving time and money required for litigation.

However no contract can be a guarantee, far less in the family life. No insurance company will ever sell insurances against ill-starred marriage and dishonest conduct of the spouses in the marriage.

The marriage contract in Russia regulates only property relations of the spouses. The contract provisions regulating anything other than property relations are void. Upon registration of marriage with a foreigner one should take into account the specificities of his country and proceeds from the country in which the spouses intend to reside.

When marrying a foreigner the spouses should realize that the social environment in which they have grown is very different. Different parents, upbringing, education; different languages, different religion, culture, traditions. On top of that, the Internet through which people rather often get acquainted does not encourage deep understanding of each other. We live in the century of high technologies and space velocities. Therefore everything happens very quickly: sympathy, love, marriage... The instant of recognition is relegated to be of distant, non-essential importance. As a consequence, the majority of intermarriages result in divorce during the first year of marriage.

Why do wars between the spouses begin and why do they use nasty methods? – I believe the answer is obvious – money. Many people think that money rules the world, and many of them are unaware of such notions as decency, mutual responsibility, nobility. It is the money that forms the basis for the majority of family disputes. I would name resentment as the second reason. Revenge, resentment, downtrodden self-esteem may drive a man, forcing him to act even to the prejudice of his own interests. In my opinion, these reasons generate judicial wars. In the absence of resentment and money issues, the people part from each other peacefully, and even may remain friends.

I happen to work with people from all over the world, and by the nature of my work to counsel foreign courts and communicate with foreign lawyers. I would say that there is more in common than differences. The difference can be found in details, the fundamental issues are almost the same. For example. The marriage may be dissolved practically in any country. The mechanism, conditions and reasons differ. For example, in the United Kingdom the divorce is possible after five years of separate living, or due to the guilt of one of the spouses. In the USA each state has its own family code. For example, in New York State the divorce is possible after one year of separate living or again due to the guilt of husband or wife. And the possibility to apply to the court with a suit claiming marriage dissolution in the majority of the countries presupposes continuous residing within the country during a certain period – from 3 months to one year.

The divorce procedure in Russia is easier and more convenient, than in the majority of countries. Any Russian citizen, even someone residing abroad is at liberty to dissolve his marriage in Russia. This fact creates not only certain conveniences for Russians, but also results in the abuse of rights on the part of dishonest citizens.

In fact, in many families the child becomes a subject of manipulation and intimidation. Let’s take a family: father is an American and mother is a Russian. The family is disrupted. Father is afraid that mother can take the child to her place, for example, to Voronezh city, and he will never see the child. Mother, in her turn, is afraid that father will make her departure from America with the child impossible, and the court will resolve to leave the child with his father due to his better well-being. And each of them has sufficient reasons for being afraid. And for many years people may live together with this fear. We have lots of examples when the Russian court resolves that the child will live with the mother, while a French (or American or Australian) – resolves the same in favor of the father. In my opinion, the states should work out a uniform concept, to reach common agreements acknowledged by all participants, which will help to settle legal controversies fairly in the interests of children and each parent. I believe that Russia should also show initiative in this respect, and joint the available conventions and international treaties pertaining to children.

If there is a child I the family, the most suffering parties in case of divorce are the weakest parties – mother and child.

But our Russian girls very often marry foreigners for the purposes other than making a family and having a child. Very often our Russian girls are driven by exclusively lucrative impulse – to take from a foreign husband as much as possible and to give him instead as little as possible. In my practice I had sufficient examples, when after a short marriage the wife demanded perpetual cash indemnity from the husband for lost youth, separation of property to creation of which she is not related in any manner whatsoever – palaces, castles, galleries ... Half of kingdom for a moment of happiness. Many of our girls value themselves like this without any sufficient grounds. In my opinion, in such cases the men need protection.

A girl from Russia when marring a foreigner, first of all should speak with the prospective husband in one language. Knowledge of language is the foundation for successful residing in another country. She should understand what she is expecting from that marriage, and what she is ready to give in exchange. She should study the spouse’s character, get acquainted with his family, with the customs and culture of the country, in which she wants to live. I believe that marriage is not the place where one should hurry, all the more so the marriage to a foreigner.

It is worth consulting a lawyer, who will help you to avoid numerous problems. Even the moment and place of marriage registration is of importance. For example, processing of USA visa for the wife takes trice as much time as processing of visa for the bride. Without consulting a lawyer people make numerous mistakes. It is common wrong belief that registration of marriage in a third country may simplify the immigration procedures. Many people have at most rather perfunctory idea of the prospects for obtaining of residence permit and citizenship. Few of them know that registration of marriage with a holder of residence permit, i.e. with a resident but not a citizen of the country does not form a ground for quick receipt of migrant status by his or her spouse. There are numerous nuances even at the marriage registration stage. The parties of family relations should realize their prospects, and take measures whenever possible for avoiding the problems, which may be avoided. For example, to sign a marriage contract. Understanding of possible problem may save from the problem. Therefore I believe that participation of qualified lawyer in your Fate is necessary.

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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