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

I am American national living in Belgium for many years. I have been married to a Russian lady in 2015, we got married in New York and then returned and registered our marriage in Belgium where we live ever since. Before marriage we have done prenuptial agreement in Belgium, in front of notary, to select "separation of properties" as our regime. We have a female child born in August 2017.

When the child was born my wife asked me to come with her to Russian consulate in Brussels, where I have signed documents that it was explained to me was about giving our daughter Russian nationality and to write the girl on the mother's passport. I did not disagree and I signed. Our girl has also Belgian identity card from her birth, she is Belgian citizen.

My wife remained registered in St. Petersburg while also registered in Belgium (and of course has residence permit). I found out recently that she also registered our child in her apartment in Russia (according to her, in order to get family benefits and medical insurance ...). We obviously get family benefits and medical coverage in Belgium where we effectively reside.

My wife is not adapting to Belgium and (from time to time) wants to divorce. She wanted to start divorce in Russia, with which of course I disagree, Russian jurisdiction is MUCH more favorable to women than Belgian when it comes to parental rights and custody of the minor child. I refuse to let my child live in Russia far away from me.

I have been told that if she obtains divorce in Russia, I can oppose it in Belgium, because it is the last common residence of the married couple that counts for attributing divorce jurisdiction. Can you confirm about jurisdiction ?

What if she takes away our girl to Russia and does not return her?

If she does so, will I be successful to have the girl returned from Russia to Belgium for Court proceedings in Belgium under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ? She will claim that residence (of her and the child) is Russia, which is false and I can prove it ... She only goes there for occasional vacation.

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Answer

I am an International child abduction attorney, and I will be glad to handle your case.

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