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How to divorce a foreigner?

If you married a foreign national in any foreign state, you can get a divorce there as well. Such divorce is considered valid in the territory of the RF (Item 3, Article 160 of the FC of the RF).
Besides, it is possible to divorce a foreign national according to the Russian legislation, in the registration office (ZAGS) or in court (Article 18 of the FC of the RF).

I. Divorce in the ZAGS office

Divorce in the ZAGS office is possible subject to mutual consent of the spouses without any minor children (Article 19 of the FC of the RF). Also, divorce to the ZAGS office is possible pursuant to an application of one spouse, if the foreigner:
- has been stated by court to be either missing or incompetent;
- has been sentenced for offence to imprisonment of more than three years.

In case of divorce in the ZAGS office, the following algorithm is recommended.

Step 1. Prepare documents for divorce and submit them to the ZAGS office.
The following will be required for divorce in the ZAGS office (Article 31 - 34 of the Law dated 15.11.1997 N 143-ФЗ; Item. 25 of the Administrative Regulation for provision of government service for state registration of deaths and marriages by the authorities performing such state registration in the territory of the Russian Federation approved by the Order of the Ministry of Justice of Russia dated 29.11.2011 N 412):
- a divorce application (a joint divorce application of spouses without common minor children, or a divorce application submitted by either spouse);
- passports (of one or both spouses);
- marriage lines;
- receipts evidencing payment of the stamp duty of RUR 650 – from each spouse in case of their mutual consent, and RUR 350, if the divorce application is submitted by one of the spouses (Subitem 2, Item 1, Article 333.26 of the Tax Code of the RF);
- effective verdict (sentence) of the court with regard to the other spouse, if the court has pronounced him/her missing, incompetent, or if that spouse has been sentenced to imprisonment over three years.
The set of documents may be submitted to the ZAGS office at the place of residence of the spouses (one of them) or at the place of state registration of their marriage.

If you live outside the RF, and if you are entitled to divorce a foreigner in the ZAGS office according to the Russian legislation, you may contact a consular office of the RF or a diplomatic representative office of the RF in the country of residence.
Instead of the stamp duty, you will have to pay the consular fee as well as certain charges to compensate actual costs related to provision of the government service. According to the general rule, the consular fee is USD 280 from each spouse. Note that the Russian nationals are exempted from any charges to compensate actual costs (Items 35 - 35.2, 64 of the Administrative Regulation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation for provision of the government service for state registration of deaths and marriages of nationals of the Russian Federation living outside the territory of the Russian Federation, approved by the Order of the MOFA of Russia dated 29.06.2012 N 10490).

Step 2. Collect divorce documents.
A month after submission of documents to the ZAGS office, consular office or diplomatic representative office, you should be issued the divorce certificate (Article 38 of the Federal Law dated 15.11.1997 N 143-ФЗ; Items 19, 79.5 of the Regulation N 10490).

II. Divorce in court

Divorcing a foreign national takes place in court in the following cases (Articles 21 - 23 of the FC of the RF):
- if the spouses have minor children;
- if the foreigner does not agree to divorce;
- if the foreigner is evading the divorce in the ZAGS office (by refusing to submit an application or failing to appear in person for state registration of divorce, etc.).

Attention!
If both the spouses reside in the RF, the divorce case must be handled by a Russian court only (since such cases are with exclusive jurisdiction of courts in the RF) (Item 3, Part 1, Article 403 of the Civil Procedural Code (CPC) of the RF).
If both the spouses reside outside the territory of the RF, this fact does not prevent the divorce case from being handled by a Russian court (Item 2, Article 160 of the FC of the RF).

Step 1. Prepare a claim form and file it to court.
According to the general rule, the claim form, inter alia, specifies following (Article 131 of the CPC of the RF):
- name of the court to which the application is filed;
- full name and residence of plaintiff;
- full name and residence of defendant (foreign national);
- any circumstances justifying the divorce claim and evidence of these circumstances;
- list of documents attached to the claim form. These include any documentary evidence circumstances justifying the divorce claim (originals or duly notarized copies, for example, of marriage lines or birth certificates of children), copies of the claim form and documentary evidences for the defendant, receipts evidencing payment of the stamp duty of RUR 600 (Subitem 5, Part 1, Article 333.19 of the Tax Code of the RF).

The claim form for divorce and any attached documents should be submitted to the court of justice (in particular, in case there is no dispute over children between the spouses) (Item 2, Part 1, Article 23 of the CPC of the RF).
If the foreign national to be divorced resides in the territory of the RF, the claim form may be filed to the court of justice at his/her place of residence.
If the foreign national does not reside in the RF, the claim form may be filed to the court of justice at the plaintiff’s place of residence (Part 4, Article 29 of the CPC of the RF).

Step 2. Collect the court resolution and the abstract therefrom and submit the documents to the ZAGS office.
If your suit has been satisfied, the marriage with the foreign national will be deemed to be dissolved once the court resolution is effective. Collect the court resolution.
Using your divorce application, and based on the court resolution, you should contact the ZAGS office at the place of marriage registration or at the place of residence of either spouse either orally, or in writing, or in electronic form to be submitted via the general portal of government and municipal services (functions); attach your passport and the abstract from the court resolution.

Besides, you will need to submit the receipt evidencing payment of RUR 650 from each spouse for state registration of the divorce, including issuance of divorce certificates (Item 1, Article 35 of the Law N 143-ФЗ; Item 25 of the Regulation N 412; Subitem 2, Item 1, Article 333.26 of the Tax Code of the RF).
You will be able to collect your divorce certificate on the basis of the above documents.

Useful information on this topic
Official web-site of the Directorate of Registration of Deaths and Marriages of the city of Moscow - www.zags.mos.ru
Official web-site of the Consular Department of the MOFA of Russia - www.kdmid.ru

26.11.2015


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