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

I am married to a woman in the Ukraine. Prior to getting married we purchased apartment in Ukraine. It is in her name because I did not have tax id. Since getting married in 2007, she has become more demanding for money and very secretive and does not answer questions when I ask her. I have a feeling that she is scamming me. Do you think detectives can get information on her scamming me and I get the apartment back and get an annulment? To get annulment do I need to go there and can you do that?

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Answer

It appears that you did become a victim of unfair acts on part of your fiancee (wife). You had better terminate your marriage with this woman as soon as possible and try to get your property back.

Unfortunately, you did not provide us will full information about this issue, namely, the date of marriage conclusion and the date of property purchase, which is important for complete understanding of the situation.

But based on the information you supplied it follows that though you have no actual marriage relations with this woman (if we understand it right, you do not sleep together…), your marriage is difficult to regard as fictitious. Since you sent her money, talked over the phone, maintained correspondence etc., that is an intention to have a family is confirmed on your part. As to her, all the facts that we have collected about her now, which will confirm, for instance, that she is cheating on you, deceiving you into parting with money and, probably, has another man, will attest to her infidelity. While in order to prove her absence of intention to create a family at the moment of marriage conclusion and declare the marriage fictitious on that ground, it is necessary to find direct evidence that she had no intention to create a family with you at the moment of marriage conclusion. This should be either her words said to anyone (relations, friends), letters written by her where she would write directly that she had no intention to actually create a family with you.

In this case it will be possible to try to have the marriage declared invalid in court. But this is quite difficult and expensive.

If there is no such evidence, it will be necessary to apply to court with an action for marriage annulment.

In order to solve the issue of getting your money back, it is necessary to know when you purchased your flat, - before or after marriage conclusion.

If that happened before, we have to disappoint you: since there is no receipt issued by your wife and confirming that she has received money for an indefinite period (that is you lent her money), it will be extremely difficult to get your money back.

If you purchase the flat after conclusion (registration) of the marriage, the situation is better, since in this case the flat will be joint property of spouses no matter in whose name it was purchase.

Pursuant to Clause 60 of Ukraine`s Family Code, property purchase by spouses or either of them in marriage is their joint property and each owns the half of such property. That is in case we follow the way of marriage termination, we can file a lawsuit for division of property jointly acquired in marriage and recognition of your right of ownership to ½ of the flat acquired by you in your wife`s name.

If we follow the way of having the marriage declared invalid (if there is the relevant evidence), we can try to evict the whole flat from your wife.

Pursuant to Clause 45 of Ukraine`s Family Code, if during an invalid marriage, persons acquired property it shall be deemed to belong to them by right of private ownership. The size of each spouse` s share shall be determined based on their contribution to purchase of such property.

That is if there is evidence that you made a money transfer for purchase of the flat, we can try to evict the whole flat from her.

That is about all that can by said now. The key moment in your situation is the date of purchase of the flat as compared to the date of marriage registration. If the flat was purchased after the marriage registration, it will be optimal to have the marriage terminated and jointly acquired property divided. If the flat was purchased before the marriage, you have no other chances to get your flat back but to try to have your marriage declared invalid. This is a very complicated category of civil affairs in courts.

Thus, we will be able to determine our final opinion in respect to your case when we know exactly the date of marriage registration and the date of flat acquisition. Please, clarify these data.

Elena Patratiy
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.
Karina Duvall
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