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Divorce in Russia and American Pre-Nup

Karina Duvall
Each party of an agreement has a right to dispute the agreement.
Although on practice it's unlikely to do if there was no violations while concluding the agreement.

According to the Article 161 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation, the spouses' property rights and duties are defined by the law of the country where they have common place of living. In case of absence of the common residence, the jurisdiction is the country of their last common place of living. Property rights and duties of those spouses who did not have a common place of living are defined in the territory of Russian Federation by the law of Russian Federation.

By concluding pre-nuptial agreement, the spouses who do not have common citizenship or common place of living, can choose the law to be applied to define their rights and duties according to the pre-nuptial agreement. Please note that it is said in your agreement. In case when the spouses did not choose the applied law, there will be provisions of Article 161 Part 1 of Family Code of Russia applied to the pre-nuptial agreement.

Bank accounts are different than real estate property. The real estate property in terms of Article 30 Part 1 of the Civil Process Code of Russian Federation is: land parcels, subsoil parcels, water sources, forests, gardens, buildings, including residential and commercial, houses, other constructions solidly connected with land.

Nerveless I think that Russian court does not have any right to divide your foreign accounts. There are many reasons for that: provisions of Article 161 Part 1 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation (see above), the absence of agreement between our countries about legal help, the absence of the mechanism for concluding and execution of such decision, provision of the lawsuit.

Even if the fact that everything is in your favor, in the case your wife files such suit, you will need a professional lawyer.

I think that property division should not be in the same pro... Read More »

Surrogate maternity

Karina Duvall
Surrogate maternity is regulated o the legislative level. Laws regulating surrogate maternity, rights and obligations of parties, vary from country to country. An important factor in conclusion of an agreement on the subject is understanding by the parties of obligations undertaken by the parties and possible consequences.

The first successful in vitro fertilization followed by an ECO program was the birth of the English woman Louise Brown in 1978. In 1986, the method of extracorporal fertilization (IVF) was successfully used in the USA.

In the CIS territory, the first case of surrogate maternity successfully started in 1991, when introduction of the process of auxiliary reproductive medicine resulted in the birth of the girl Katya. After the successful experience of Kharkov experts, IVF became widespread in the territory of the former USSR.

Since 1978, about three million children have been born all over the world using the IVF method.

Both in terms of using the IVF method and in terms of legislation in this field, the USA were the first. Their legislative experience was successfully adopted in many other countries. Though both in America where each state has its own legislation, and in other countries, there are no uniform laws and legal practice in this field. However, the USA laid the foundation of legal regulation of surrogate maternity all over the world. Several court proceedings in cases connected with surrogate maternity became known all over the world; were described in manuals, scientific and popular literature, various guides, and were widely covered in the Internet.

The world demonstrates controversial attitudes to surrogate maternity. The Brussels declaration of the World Medical Association (1985) provides for the prohibition of it. There is no single opinion (on the worldwide scale) that this method of fertilization is correct and lawful. Application of these methods of reproduction is connected with many problems of ethical, medi... Read More »

Parallel Divorce

Karina Duvall
Q.: At the moment I am trying to divorce my husband. The divorce is taking place in Moscow. Since he kept delaying the proceedings, they have lasted for six months already. The district court passed a judgment in my favor, however my husband appealed against it, and the case will be heard in a court of appeal in mid-late May.

A.: If no judgment is passed in the case, the best thing you can do is to wait for the results of appeal to become known.

Q.: The main dispute concerns the place of the child`s residence.
A.: Has this issue been heard in a Russian court? If yes, could you please send me a copy of the court judgment in this case?

Q.: My husband demands that I return my daughter to Russia from the USA, and has also threatened to take her away.

A.: Where – in a Russian or American court? If in a Russian court, what judgment has been passed in the case?

If a Russian court passed a judgment in this case, to hope for it to be accepted and enforced in America would be too much optimistic. I suppose if you live in America on legal grounds, are a good mother, provide your daughter with everything necessary, and have no moral and material support on part of your spouse, it is very unlikely that the child will stay with the father. In any case this issue should be considered by an American judge. However, you certainly should have control over this issue.

Q.: I was forced to apply in the USA with a request for divorce (this was prior to the judgment passed in Russia) with the purpose to obtain protection from my husband`s offences.

A.: I can say the following on the subject of parallel application to a different court with a lawsuit between the same parties, on the same issue and on the same grounds. If a court establishes that there is an analogous case in proceedings of a different court, it should leave the case that was started later without consideration. Leaving without consideration means that if circumstances causing the action ... Read More »

Bliss vs. Bliss

court practice
Notice: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the Atlantic and Maryland Reporters. Users are requested to notify the Clerk of the Court of any formal errors so that corrections may be made before the bound volumes go to press.

District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Nos. 97-FM-701 & 97-FM-1019

Daniel I. Bliss,



Elena T. Bliss,


Appeals from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

(Hon. Zinora Mitchell-Rankin, Trial Judge)

(Argued November 24, 1998 - Decided July 22, 1999)

Alan B. Soschin for appellant.

Mary S. Pence, with whom Pamela B. Forbes and Garrett L. Lee were on the brief, for appellee.

Before Farrell and Ruiz, Associate Judges, and Retchin,* Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Ruiz, Associate Judge: Daniel Bliss appeals from a judgment enforcing a Russian custody order, awarding sole custody of the parties' son, Nikita, to the mother, Elena Bliss. Appellant argues that the trial court erred in its determination that he had been afforded procedural due process in the Russian court. In addition, appellant contests the trial court's subsequent order awarding attorney's fees to Ms. Bliss under D.C. Code §16-4515(d) (1997), asserting that he could not have violated the Russian custody order until the trial court had determined that the Russian order was valid. We affirm.


Elena Trush Bliss, a citizen of Russia, married Daniel Bliss, a United States citizen, in February 1995. The couple resided in Moscow where Mr. Bliss worked. Elena Bliss gave birth to a son, Nikita, later in 1995 during a four-month stay with Mr. Bliss's mother in the District of Columbia. Shortly after the couple's return to Russia, they began to have marital difficulties. During one argument, Mr. Bliss allegedly struck his wife. Thereafter, however, things seemed to improve until, without warning, on October 5, 1996, Mr. Bliss brought Nikita back to the Unit... Read More »




Judicial Division for Civil Case of Saint Petersburg City Court in the composition:


Having considered in court session of February XX, 20XX the private complaint about Ruling of XXXXXXXXXXXXXX District court of Saint Petersburg dated December 25, 2008 as regards dismissal of application of Mr. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX against XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX for dissolution of marriage, recovery of alimony, and division of property jointly acquired in wedlock.

Having heard the report of judge Ms. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, explanations of attorney Ms. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX in favor of interests of XXXXXXXXXXXX, the representative of Ms. XXXXXXXXXXXX – XXXXXXXXXXXX acting by virtue of power of attorney dated October XX, 20XX.

Judicial Division for Civil Case of Saint-Petersburg City Court


Mr. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX applied to the court with the suit against Ms. XXXXXXXXXXX claiming dissolution of marriage, recovery of child support, division of property jointly acquired in wedlock.

The Ruling of XXXXXXXXXXXXX District court of Saint-Petersburg dated December XX, 20XX dismissed the suit of XXXXXXXXXXXXX.

In his private complaint XXXXXXXXXXXX asks to reverse the ruling, stating that the ruling has been determined unlawfully with violation of procedural law provisions.

Having examined the case papers, discussed the arguments of private complaint the Judicial Division believes that the ruling of the judge is subject to reversal.

When dismissing the suit the court was referring to provisions of cl. 1 o part 1 of Art. 134 of RF CPC and Art. 220 of RF CPC, specifying that the application is not subject to consideration and resolving in the civil procedure, since it was made with violation of jurisdiction rules, and must be considered in another proceeding.

Art. 134 of RF CPC regulates the procedure for judge’s ref... Read More »
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