Child Custody in Russia

Child Custody in Russia

Updated on Tuesday 07th May 2019

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Russian courts have the authority to handle child custody and other issues related to parental duties and rights. This is applicable to foreign nationals as well, if certain conditions are being met (the defendant parent has a residency permit in Russia etc).
Parents of an underage child can come to an agreement concerning the child support or they can also solve the issue in courts. When dealing with child custody matters, parental responsibility and other aspects, it is recommended to seek counsel from specialists. Our lawyers in Russia can assist you in any of these matters and make sure that your interest are being looked after. You can rely on our lawyers for assistance in both national and international child custody matters in Russia.

Child custody and Family Law in Russia

The Family Law through the Civil Code represent the main legal framework which provides for child custody in case of marriage dissolution. The Russian Family Law provides for several important aspects when it comes to child custody, among which we mention:

  • - the equal responsibility of the parents to provide for the children after the marriage has ended;
  • - the custody of the children, no matter the nationality and country of residence of the parents;
  • - the maintenance and payment of alimony of children of the spouse not having custody after divorce;
  • - various aspects related to international regulations applicable in child custody matters.


The legislation on child custody is quite extensive in this country and asking for legal advice from our Russian lawyers can represent a great help in understanding the rights and obligations of divorced parents.

Child custody rules in Russia

In case of a dispute between the parents as to whom should the child live with, they can resolve it by court. The non-custodial parent has the right to get involved in the upbringing of the child and to communicate with him/her. In order to come to the best decision with regard to the welfare of the child, a court should consider:
  • - the child's age;
  • - the parents' capacity to take care of the child from a financial point of view;
  • - ethical qualities of the parents;
  • - the relationship they have with the child;
  • - the closeness between the child and his/her parents, siblings and other relatives.
Our law firm in Russia can assist you in matters of child custody and visitations rights or any other issues you may face.

Court decisions in child custody in Russia

Most of the times child custody in Russia in decided in court. However, the court can also decide on other matters related to this aspect and the most important ones are related to:

  1. the residence of the child/children with one of the parents, as well as the relocation of children;
  2. the communication of the children with the other parent and the visitation rights;
  3. the request of the custodian parent to leave Russia and take the child/children with them;
  4. studies or medical problems related to the child will also be considered the Russian court;
  5. limitation of certain parental rights, if the case requires can be determined by the judge.


Another important aspect to consider in Russian child custody matters is that the court will usually award custody of children below of the age of 10 to mothers.

Child custody cases are treated individually by the court and the support of our Russian law firm in such cases can make the difference between a successful and a poor outcome to such a situation.

Joint custody and other related matters in Russia

Equal parental responsibility in Russian Family Law is possible in some cases, but it is not very common and usually it is the mother who is granted with the child custody. In case of a shared-custody, both parents have the same responsibilities for the child's well-being. This type of custody is refused by the court only when there is evidence that the child might be exposed to domestic violence and abuse. You can ask our Russian lawyers for counsel in issues of shared-custody and rules concerning foreign residency of parents.
Factors such as country of origin or nationality do not affect parents' rights, however, should they live in different states, the way they will keep contact with the child will be affected. Normally, at the beginning, a parent is appointed with the child's care (which means residing together as well), while concomitantly allocating some time for the other parent as well.
Since 2011, the Russian Family Law has established eight special courts that will argue international child custody cases in which one of the parents leaves the country with the child without having the permission of the other party involved to do so. 

Rights and responsibility of parents in child custody in Russia

All matters related to Russian child custody are regulated by the court of law. It is important to know that the parent who obtains exclusive custody of the children has the right to ask for financial support under the form of child alimony from the other parent.

The court will determine the responsibilities of parents with respect to child custody based on the following aspects:

  • - the place of residence of the parents, whether it is common or separate;
  • - the nationality of the child, if the parents do not have a common place of residence;
  • - the law of the country where the child resides, if none of the two conditions above apply.


When it comes to child alimony, the parents can reach a mutual agreement on the amount of money to pe paid by the parent who does not have custody, or the alimony can be decided by a family law judge.

If a court decision is imposed, the law requires for the minimum amount of money to be determined as follows:

  • - one quarter of the parent’s income if the couple has one child;
  • - one-third of the supporting parent’s income in the case of two children;
  • - one half of the supporting parent’s income if the couple has more than three children.


There are also special cases in which the parents can agree on a lump sum or even the transfer of a property which can be used as a child alimony. Another special case where the court can decide for a lump sum to be paid by the supporting parent is if the parent does not have a fixed income or works abroad.

If you need guidance in child maintenance cases, our lawyers in Russia are at your disposal with detailed information.

FAQ on child custody in Russia

Child custody in Russia is quite complex given that married and non-married couples can be made of Russian citizens, or foreign citizens, or Russian and foreign citizens. These situations can lead to many questions, some of them answered by our lawyers below:

  1. Can parents agree on child custody outside a Russian court?

Yes, parents can conclude agreements which need to be certified by a Russian public notary, if a court decision is not necessary.

  1. Do unmarried couples need to go to court in case of child custody?

Yes, because unmarried couples will be treated the same as Russian married couples in child custody matters.

  1. Can a child be asked about the parent he/she wants to live with?

Yes, the court can ask a child about his or her living preferences as long as he/she has reached the age of 10.

  1. Can a parent take a child out of Russia without the consent of the other parent?

Unless the parent leaving Russia wants to move to another country for a long period of time, the other parent’s consent to exit the country is not required.

If you need further information and/or guidance in any family law cases, our attorneys in Russia can come up with customised solutions for the problems you are encountering, so do not hesitate to contact us.