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Family Law: divorce proceedings, conclusion of marriage (Russia)
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Question

My boyfriend is an American citizen (formerly Russian citizen) and wants to file for divorce to someone who is still a Russian citizen, living in Russia. This person stated they will contest the divorce even though they have never lived together, nor seen each other in 4 years. Is there such a thing as annulment of marriage in Russia (since they have never lived together)? If he files for divorce and she contests the divorce, how long can the process take? I'm sure he is going to have to hire a lawyer to represent him, so any advice will be appreciated. Thanks! Also, can you be reached by phone on the weekends if he decides to retain a lawyer from your firm?

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Answer

In Russian legislation there is no such term as "annulment of marriage". There are terms "break marriage" and "acknowledge marriage void". The acknowledgement of marriage as void implies that marriage was registered either with breach of the law (such cases are described in the law) or without goal to create family, i.e. pro forma marriage (such case are very difficult to prove and I consider this hopeless). So, in your case the only possible way is to break marriage (divorce), not annulment. The divorce case is scheduled at Russian court in one month from the date of applying. If his wife would contest divorce, the court has a right to allow them a time for conciliation for three month. There are also other ways to delay the case. But usually a divorce case with preparing of all the necessary documents takes from 2 to 6 month. \nIt is very important to know the exact address of residence of his wife in Russia. And it's advisably to hire a lawyer for the divorce because it's very difficult and long term to prepare all the necessary documents and get the divorce oneself, especially if he doesn't live in Russian and considering position of his wife. \nOf course your boyfriend can call me at +7-921-946-0582 and I can speak with him in Russian language.

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