Divorce Lawyers in Russia

Divorce Procedure in Russia

Updated on Monday 10th December 2018

Rate this article

based on 9 reviews


The Family Code is the main legislation related to civil matters such as marriage registration, divorce procedures, and child custody. The Family Code is comprised in the Russian Civil Code and was enabled at the end of 1995.

Our law firm in Russia can assist in divorce procedures and can offer more information on the Family Law.

Our divorce lawyers in Russia can offer detailed information on the procedures to be fulfilled in order to obtain a divorce decree in this country.

Jurisdiction over divorce proceedings in Russia

It must be noted that both foreign and Russian citizens can obtain a divorce in Russia, as the family court here has jurisdiction in the following cases:

  • -          both spouses are Russian citizens and at least one of them files for a divorce;
  • -          at least one of the spouses is a Russian citizen, while the other is a foreign citizen with or without residency in Russia;
  • -          at least one of the spouses has a residence permit in Russia, while the other does not;
  • -          at least one of the spouses owns a property in Russia, even if the foreign citizen files for divorce.

In the case of Russian citizens applying for divorce in other countries, it should be noted that the Russian court will automatically acknowledge the divorce decree without further actions. Our divorce lawyers in Russia can offer detailed information on the provisions of the Family Law in matters of divorce of foreign citizens or Russian citizens living abroad.

Reasons and restrictions related to divorce in Russia

A Russian divorce process can only begin under certain circumstances, among which there are no grounds for the couple to live together or if one of the parties has left the conjugal home. Also, the court can decide to issue a 3-month period for reconciliation.

With respect to the restrictions imposed by a Russian court, these are:

  • - one cannot file for a divorce while the wife is pregnant;
  • - one cannot file for a divorce while having a child less than one-year-old.

Also, the Russian court will refuse to judge a divorce case if the proceedings have begun in another country.

Our Russian lawyers can offer more information on the reasons and restrictions related to divorce procedures in this country.

The divorce procedure in Russia

The Russian divorce procedure begins when one or both spouses file a request for marriage dissolution within the local registry offices (ZAGS). The duration of a divorce procedure usually takes about a month in cases of mutual agreement.

The Russian divorce procedure in the court of justice includes a period of reflection that can take up to three months, but the whole divorce procedure in court will take no longer than six months in case of families with no children. If one of the spouses does not want a divorce, the judge will allow for a three months period for reconciliation and after that, the divorce will be pronounced even if the spouse still opposes the dissolution.  The divorce procedure cannot be initiated during the wife’s pregnancy or within the first year of a child’s birth without the wife’s consent.

Types of divorce in Russia

The Russian Family Law acknowledges two types of divorce - administrative and judicial.

The administrative divorce in Russia is usually enabled in cases of families with no children that have reached a mutual agreement. The divorce and the issue of the divorce certificate will be registered with the Registry Office within one month of filing the application.

The judicial process related to divorce in Russia implies the opposition of one of the parties. In this case, the court must decide in matters like child custody, support for both the other spouse and the minor child or children, alimony matter and division of assets.

The administrative divorce in Russia

As mentioned earlier, the administrative divorce is one of the proceedings which can be completed before a Russia court. This procedure can be done if two conditions are met: if both spouses agree to the divorce and the couple has no children. It is also possible for an administrative divorce procedure to be completed in absence of one of the spouses when the absent spouse is imprisoned for at least 3 years or has been legally declared as missing.

It should be noted that justices of the peace will rule in administrative divorce proceedings in Russia.

The judicial divorce in Russia

If one or both the conditions mentioned above is not fulfilled, the judicial divorce will be the proceeding under which a Russian marriage can be ended. This means that if one of the spouses does not agree with the divorce or the couple has children, a judge will decide over the end of the marriage.

In this case, one of the spouses must file a petition with the court in order for the divorce proceedings to begin. An interesting fact about the judicial procedure is that only one of the spouses must file for divorce, even if both spouses agree with it and if arrangements related to the custody of children and division of properties have been made.

No matter if the judicial divorce is agreed upon or not, both spouses will need legal representation before the court. Also, compared to the administrative divorce, the judicial procedure will fall under the jurisdiction of district courts which are part of the general court system.

The steps to be completed when undergoing a judicial divorce in Russia are:

  • -          hiring a divorce lawyer who can represent the spouse requesting the separation;
  • -          a power of attorney must be granted to the divorce attorney in Russia;
  • -          the lawyer will lodge the divorce petition with the competent court in the city where the spouse lives;
  • -          the documents to be filed with the court are the marriage certificate and the children’s birth certificates (where applicable).

It should be noted that even if the other spouse consents the divorce, he or she should also hire a lawyer.

Our law firm in Russia is at the disposal of those interested in obtaining a divorce in this country.

Who is entitled to file for divorce in Russia?

It should be noted that not everybody can file for a divorce in Russia. According to the Civil Code, the following individuals can ask for the commencement of divorce proceedings in this country:

  • Russian citizens;
  • - Russian residents;
  • - individuals owning residential properties in Russia.

Divorce certificates issued in other countries are recognized in Russia, as long as they comply with international regulations.

Child custody and support in Russia

The Family Code considers children to be better taken care of by mothers in case of divorce in Russia, but fathers are also entitled to gain custody in court. The Russian Family Law has decided for children with the age over 10 to be allowed to testify in matters of custody in case of a judicial divorce. Russian courts have seldom allowed joint custody.

Child support will be paid by the parent not living with the child or children.  Child support or alimony (алименты) in Russia will be paid until the child or children become adults and the parent must pay 25% of his or her income in case of a child, 33% in case of two children and 50% for more than three children.

Property division in case of divorce in Russia

Russian laws state that properties obtained during marriage whether they are assets or real estate purchases will be divided in case of divorce. Spouses can divide joint property by a mutual agreement that will be certified by a notary.

In case of argument over joint property, the court will rule over the division of property. In cases of joint assets acquired for children, these will not be divided between spouses but will be given to the parent that has custody over the child or children. Money deposits made by partners in name of their children will not be taken into account when property division is made.

Our divorce lawyers in Russia answer a few questions

Among the frequently asked questions our divorce lawyers in Russia receive are:

1. Is there any separation period before filing for a divorce in Russia?

No, Russia is one of the few countries which do not require a separation period in order to prove the breakdown of a marriage.

2. What happens if I don’t have/lost my marriage certificate?

Our Russian lawyers can obtain another marriage certificate on behalf of our client.

3. If I got a divorce abroad, do I need to register it with a Russian court?

If an agreement has been signed by Russia and the country where the divorce took place, the foreign judgment will be recognized automatically in Russia.

4. How much does a divorce procedure take in Russia?

The length of a divorce procedure depends on the type of divorce and on how soon the documents can be submitted with the court. However, in Russia divorce procedures are completed quite quickly compared to other countries.

With a vast experience in civil law-related cases, our Russian law firm can help both local and foreign citizens can benefit from legal assistance and advice in matters related to divorce proceedings and hearings, child custody and support, the division of property, but also in marriage registration procedures.

If you require legal advice in cases of litigation, you can contact our law firm in Russia.