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

My mother threatens to prosecute a claim for alimony payments as she has been granted a disability pension. She has got two more daughters. I am registered in my mother’s apartment. At the present time I live in the USA and have a green card, I am 29, divorced and have no children. I study in a university and have to pay for my education. I’m planning to obtain US citizenship and renounce Russian citizenship. Can I renounce Russian citizenship as she threatens to prosecute a claim against me, and can she oblige me to effect alimony payments in the territory of the USA? I am not planning to come to Russia. In case she obliges me to effect alimony payments in the territory of the USA, what can be the amount of alimony payments as prices and living standards are different here and I am not sure I will be able to pay my bills here including payments for education.

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Answer

An obligation to support disabled parents is provided for by Russian Law. Herewith Russian legislation puts this obligation upon all adult able-bodied children (Art. 87 parts 2, 3, 4 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation) depending on parents’ indigence, financial and marital status of parents and children and other noteworthy interests of the parties. For the purposes of determination of alimony amount the court is entitled to take into account all adult able-bodied children of such parent irrespective of whether the claim has been raised against all or any of them. In case of exceptional circumstances (serious illness, parent’s injury, need for care payments and other) adult children can be obliged by the court to bear additional expenses incurred by such circumstances.

US Law doesn’t provide for such children's obligations to their parents. Due to this reason your mother’s claim in a US court might be unsuccessful.

But your mother has a right to prosecute such claim in a Russian court. She can do this irrespective of your place of residence or citizenship but in this case jurisdiction is undoubtful as you are a citizen of the Russian federation and you are registered in your mother’s apartment.

Rendering of such judicial decision in your absence and without notifying you seems problematic as for rendering the decision the court shall verify and assess the circumstances mentioned above namely your financial and marital status and other noteworthy circumstances which will be extremely problematic in your absence.

Suppose the decision will be rendered and you will have to pay alimony to your disabled mother you should bear in mind that the USA and Russia haven’t concluded a legal aid treaty with regard to civil and family cases therefore any judgment of a Russian Court is not subject to mandatory execution. A decision concerning execution will be taken by a public official on the basis of international and national legal provisions given consular certification or apostille (according to the Hague Convention of October 05, 1961). Execution of judgment in the USA is quite complicated, expensive, long and of little promise due to lack of the mentioned treaty. Nevertheless, in case your mother initiates such action you shall properly elaborate your defense and not think that the matter will be solved of itself.

Concerning renouncement of Russian citizenship I would like to draw your attention to the fact that your alimony obligations to your parents as well as jurisdiction doesn’t depend on your citizenship in case your mother prosecutes a claim. Nevertheless you are entitled to renounce Russian citizenship. Russian citizenship is renounced in accordance with Art. 19, 20 of the Law of the Russian Federation “Citizenship of the Russian Federation” (as amended on January 03, 2006): a citizen of the Russian Federation residing in the territory of the Russian Federation is entitled to renounce Russian citizenship on the basis of free expression of his/her will in accordance with the general procedure; a citizen of the Russian Federation residing in the territory of a foreign country is entitled to renounce Russian citizenship on the basis of free expression of his/her will in accordance with simplified procedure. Russian citizenship can not be renounced in case a citizen of the Russian Federation has got unfulfilled obligations to the Russian Federation established by the Federal Law; a citizen is an accused in a criminal case or there is an enforced serviceable condemnatory judgment with regard to such citizen; a citizen doesn’t have foreign citizenship and/or a guarantee to obtain the same.

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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