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Family Law: divorce proceedings, conclusion of marriage (Russia)

Hello, Karina,

I came across the link below in attempting a Google search for my current situation. The link below describes my situation almost exactly.

I have a fiancee who resides in Crimea and her divorced was finalized in October or November of last year. As the possession of this territory is in turmoil, her marriage and the birth of her child occurred when it was considered Ukraine territory, but the divorce was finalized in the Russian courts.

Her divorce decree states that the child lives with the mother, but does not explicitly state that anyone is granted least according to the English translation that I have. The father is required to pay support, so I believe it can be assumed that she is granted custody.

I have filed the I-129F Application for Fiancee Visa with U.S. immigration and we are awaiting completion of that, which we expect within a month or two.

We expect opposition from the child's father and we understand that according to Ukraine law, he has that right, though I believe that according to the link below, we could qualify for the exception and I can provide evidence that I am able to support them better here than they are able to in Crimea.

In addition, we are unsure which laws will apply, because we are unsure which embassy she will be told to report to. She will most likely be assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, but there is a possibility that she will be assigned to Moscow.

I guess I would like to begin a dialogue with you to determine if the details of my situation warrant action and if your office can assist us. If so, I would like to discuss fees for possible services.

Thank you for any insight you can provide.


I have read Russian divorce decree. It says following statements:

1. "The defendant accepted the claim".

2. "The child lives with the Plaintiff, as evidenced by a certificate № 123 dated on September 16, 2014".

3. "There are no disputes about the place of residence of the child".

Combined with the fact that the Defendant obligated to pay child support to Plaintiff, these circumstances indicate that the place of residence of the child is determined with his mother.

I gave many professional opinions and expertize to the USCIS to interpret the Russian law and court's decisions. The Russian law has no definition of "Custody". So, many cases require explaining who from parents has legal and physical custody, if no judgement about it. I do these explanations successfully.

If you need, I will prepare my legal opinion about this divorce decree, enclosing a copy of my professional licenses. I know many cases where USCIS and US Embassy accepted divorce decree like you have. At the same time, I know many cases where such divorce decree was not enough. Ultimately, this issue is at the discretion of the immigration officer. Therefore, you should be well prepared and properly prepare the documents.

Does your fiancée should not have any troubles with the departure from Russia. According with Russian law, the father consent is not required if the child goes to the mother. As long as no father prohibition, she can travel freely. The only condition for such trips is to have an American visa to receive and which you should pay close attention.

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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