My Russian wife and I have divorced a year ago. We are now dividing property in The US. Her mothers apartment was put in my wifes name during our marriage. She is not willing to negotiate or communicate. I would like to know what I may do in regards to forcing a sale of her apartment in Russia. She is claiming half the property here in spite of who paid for it. May I do the same in Russia? If so how could we do this?
According to an article 34 part 1 the Family code of Russian Federation, the property acquired by spouses during a marriage is their joint property. The property received by one spouses during a marriage as gift, by way of inheritance or under other gratuitous deals (property of each of spouses) becomes only property of such spouse (an article 36 *1 the Family code of Russian Federation).
Therefore to answer your question whether the apartment of your wife in Moscow is subject to division as a result of divorce, it is necessary to know the grounds of acquiring rights on the Moscow apartment. If the apartment was acquired by your wife by purchase-and-sale contract, in this case you as spouse have a right for 1/2 of shares in the property rights for the apartment.
If the apartment has been transferred by contract of gift, you cannot formally claim rights for it. There is only one circumstance allowing you to declare the right on an apartment: according to an article 37 of Family Code of Russian Federation, property of each of spouses can be recognized as their joint property if it can be established that during the marriage there were investments at the expense of your joint property or your personal property, or by your direct work, and such investments considerably increased cost of this property (like major overhaul renovation or re-equipment, or others).
Therefore prior that you address this matter to court, it is necessary for you to have precise representation about what you can pretend. The key moment in it are the bases of purchase of the apartment your wife (whether it was contract of gift or contract of sale). Also it is necessary to you to find out maybe during the marriage with you your wife other property and real estate was acquired (apartment, house, car and etc.) and you don’t know about that and you may have rights on that. Most up to date information about composition of the property you can receive if you apply to court. The claim in court is the unconditional basis to make necessary inquiries and get authentic answers on them. After acquaintance with the received documents I will be able to tell to you good enough on what property you may have rights in Russia.
To file the claim to court I will need a power of attorney from you and also full name and address of yours wife, and address of the apartment.
I will be glad to help you.