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Family Law: termination of parental rights, rights of the child, child support. (Russia)
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Question

Hi Karina, my name is Scott and I live in Australia. I am an Australian Citizen and my wife is a dual Russian and Australian Citizen. We have a 3.5 year old son who is an Australian Citizen. My wife and I were married in Saint Petersburg in 2008 but have now initiated separation in Australia. I would like Child Custody and Property to be settled her in Australia however I would like the actual divorce to be completed in Saint Petersburg as soon as possible. My wife is not consenting to the divorce in Saint Petersburg so I will have to initiate myself.

I am seeking your services as follows:

1) Arranging for divorce in Saint Petersburg (I have a copy of the marriage certificate and my passport and address of my wife in Saint Petersburg.

2) I would like to understand under what circumstances my wife can apply for a Russian passport, citizenship for my son David. If we are divorced does she still need my consent to apply for such documents? Can I put any order in place to prevent my daughter from obtaining any such document without my consent?

I’d appreciate if you could advise me.

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Answer

I have already sent a request to the Civil Registry Office to receive the reissued marriage certificate for you in order to initiate the divorce proceedings. Additionally, I will need a power of attorney with an apostille from you that will allow me to defend your rights at court. Your personal presence at the divorce proceedings is not required.

In order to file an action with the court for dissolution of marriage, I also need you to receive the reissued birth certificate for your child with an apostille.

Please, also inform me about the last known address of your wife in Moscow. It is necessary in order to file an action with the court.

After receipt of all the above documents and information we will be able to file an action with the court and obtain a divorce.

Your wife will not be able to receive citizenship of the Russian Federation through the Embassy (Consulate) of the Russian Federation in Australia without getting your prior written consent for acquisition of citizenship by the child.

However, she is fully entitled to come to Russia and receive citizenship of the Russian Federation in Russia. Formally, your consent is also required in this case. In fact, a declaration made by your wife that she does not know place of your residence will be enough in order to obtain citizenship of the Russian Federation for your child without your consent. Practically all children without exception, living in the territory of the Russian Federation, may receive citizenship of the Russian Federation, because without citizenship and without registration at the place of residence in the territory of the Russian Federation a child will be subject to substantial limitation of his/her rights (in particular, he/she will not be able to receive free medical care, social welfare benefits, etc.). That is why the Russian officials always make advances and give citizenship and make registration at the place of residence in the Russian Federation for children.

There is only one way to prevent it, i.e. to initiate legal proceedings in Australia for custody of your child, and my means of a judicial process to impose a ban on departure of your child from the country. It is possible to do it, I know many cases, when Australian courts made a decision about imposing a ban on departure of a child abroad, especially to Russia. This can be explained by the fact, that Russia (except the European countries, USA or Canada) will not be able to ensure enforcement of a decision of an Australian court, and you bear the risk to lose your child completely in case of his departure to the Russian Federation.

You will need to receive an additional advice of an Australian lawyer with regard to rendering of early award by the court of Australia about imposing a ban on departure of the child outside Australia.

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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