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

First, I expect that the appropriate venue for the divorce would be Moscow, since that has been the jurisdiction of our marital home. Although we have lived in Moscow for many years, my wife is registered in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (where her parents live) and while she had some temporary registration in Moscow some years ago, I don't think she has kept that up, so I assume that she is not registered in Moscow, only in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. If we go this route, would you be able to assist?

Second, how long does the divorce process take?

Third, can she block the divorce if she does not agree?

Fourth, I understand that there is no requirement under Russian law for continual alimony or spousal support after the divorce. Is this correct?

Fifth, what is customarily done with property? Essentially all of the income earned in the family has been mine – my wife has never held a full time job during our marriage and has only earned a few rubles here and there teaching yoga. She has never earned more than a few thousand dollars in any year (for the past four or five years, the number has been almost zero). Under these circumstances, what kind of property division would be required under law?


The court in Moscow has no jurisdiction over your divorce. You need make divorce in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, where your wife has registration of residence. I do divorces throughout the Russian Federation, and will be glad to help you. In order to initiate your divorce case, you need to get marriage certificate with apostille in Las Vegas or our US office will be able to do it for you. You need to provide a power of attorney and addresses of parties.

In general, the divorce proceeding takes between two to four months.

Your wife can not block divorce by her disagreement, but she can delay the proceedings by various procedural means, such as filing a counter-claim, a motion for the reconciliation period, an appeal, etc.

According to articles 89, 90 of the Family Code of Russian Federation, spouse or ex-spouse who have the right to appeal in court to demand spousal support from other spouse (if the spouse has financial ability to pay), if one of the following apply:

- wife in her pregnancy and during three years after baby was born;

- needy spouse who does care for disabled child until 18th birthday;

- disabled needy spouse who became disable before divorce of in first year after divorce;

- needy retired spouse not later than 5 years after divorce if spouse was in marriage for long time.

In accordance with the Russian Family Law, your wife has rights for half of the property acquired during the marriage. It has no legal value, the spouse who earned more. At the request of either spouse, at the same time with a divorce, the judge can divide property, no matter where property is located, including, decision on the division of US property. However, there is no practical sense to divide the American property in Russia, because between Russia and the United States there is no agreement on legal assistance in civil and family matters. In most cases, the decision of the Russian court about properties issues will have no legal force in the United States. Once you get a divorce in Russia, either of you can file property claim to the competent US court. You can also reach post-divorce agreement with your wife. You need to consult with American Attorney to know if there is any statute of limitations to file a claim for division of property in US jurisdiction after divorce.

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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