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

Divorce between foreign spouses, living on the territory of Russia on the grounds of business visa, is possible.


Ms Elen Medlus, citizen of the United States of America, lives in Moscow with two infant children on the grounds of annual business visa. Her husband, Mr. Mark Medlus, citizen of the United States of America, also lives in Russia, but in Twer. They addressed an American lawyer asking him to represent them in divorce proceedings on the territory of their country, but received a reply that, according to the law of their State, dissolution of marriage may become effective only after 6 months of continuous residence on the territory of their State. The Medluses requested us to institute divorce proceedings in the Russian court. The justice of peace refused to accept their statement of claim on dissolution of marriage pleading that the Medluses do not have permanent residence on the territory of the Russian Federation, that their residence has temporary character with limited duration. In a private complaint against court decision the lawyer refers to the fact that, in accordance with the Law of the Russian Federation “On Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation”, foreign citizens shall have the right to relief in court in common with citizens of the Russian Federation. Similar provisions are specified in relevant regulations of the civil procedural legislation. Article 20 of Part 1 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation says that place of residence is the place, where the person constantly or predominantly lives. Thus, decision of Federal Court obliged the justice of peace to accept statement of claim of Elen Medlus against Mark Medlus, citizens of USA, on dissolution of marriage and recovery of alimony for two infant children. As a result of dispute resolution the marriage was annulled, and the Parties settled the dispute on alimony in amicable way.

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Karina Duvall
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