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Family law : divorce and division of property. (Russia)
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Question

I am in the process of divorcing in U.S.A. a Russian citizen. During the marriage (3 years) 2 new-built apartments were purchased in her name with funds I mostly provided. I do not know their addresses.

Can their addresses be found by title (or other) search? Either she or her mother are the owners of record.

My understanding is that by Russian law she is unable to sell these properties while married without my written agreement: is this true? And is there a way to put a charge or lien on the properties so that any buyer would be certain to know that the property could not be sold without my agreement?

Any other advice in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

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Answer

Pursuant to the Russian law, any disputes as regards real estate located within Russia fall under exclusive jurisdiction of the Russian court.

Therefore the judgement of U.S. court as regards the separation of Russian real estate will be illegible within Russia. But the divorce decree made in U.S. will be recognized in the Russian Federation.

You are entitled to apply to the Russian court claiming division of jointly acquired property. Simultaneously with the filing of suit you may apply for requesting the required information, and for imposing of arrest on property (prohibition of property alienation) before the trial on the merits.

It is not a problem, if you do not know the addresses of all real properties in Saint Petersburg: based on your petition the court may make the necessary inquiries and obtain information about the composition of available properties. Do you have address of residence of his wife in Saint Petersburg or any address of her property? If you don't know any address, you can give me name of your wife, phone number, email, and other data with which help I can establish her address.

You should know that, if the spouses resided separately, even though the property was acquired during the marriage, is may be recognized as the property of the spouse who had acquired the property.

You should also know that the property acquired for account of the funds received before the marriage, may be also recognized as the property of the spouse whose funds were used for its acquisition.

You should also know that you can't apply for division of property of her mother and other relatives.

The above specified circumstances need evidence. According to general rule the property acquired during the marriage is divided into 1/2 for each spouse. If you want to change the ratio you have to prove numerous facts and circumstances.

She can sell property without your consent. Only the court can forbid it.

Judgement of U.S. court as regards the marriage dissolution will be recognized in Russia. Judgement of U.S. court as regards other facts may be recognized in Russia in the result of court judgement on recognition and enforcement of a foreign court judgement. As for the division of real estate, I think, that it makes sense from the very beginning to bring this issue before the Russian court.

Your presence during the case consideration is not required. The court may oblige a plaintiff or a defendant to appear before the court in exceptional circumstances. According to general rule the presence of Attorney at Law authorized by you power of attorney will be sufficient.

First of all you have to execute a power of attorney certified by the Russian consulate or notarized + apostille. A copy of your passport is also required, a copy of your marriage certificate or divorce certificate with apostille and translation into Russian. Other documents may be also required depending on the circumstances you are intending to prove. In my turn, I will prepare the petition to the court requesting to find out the real properties registered in the name of your wife and to impose arrest on the property.

You need not make your wife provide you with the information about the property. The court will obtain the required information according to your petition.

The sooner you begin the case, the more are the chances to retain the property and prevent its selling by your wife or re-registration in the names of other persons.

The consideration of such cases takes a long time: six months and more.

Upon filing a suit you should pay a state duty which is calculated on the basis of the suit price.

As for attorney’s fee. This matter is rather expensive. So could you, please, specify the amount you would like to fit within? – I will try to take you requests into account, whenever possible. The fee may base on hourly rate or flat rate (if I accept your offer).

In any case, now you should define the composition of your property, and impose arrest as soon as possible to prevent your wife’s disposal of the property before the court judgement.

I will be glad to help you.

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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