Russian Law of Divorce

Russian law of divorce has abolished  the concept of fault  of one of the spouses as a requirement for divorce  since the Decree 1917 Regarding Divorce.  Since then the concept of “no-fault divorce” has permanently  remained in the Russian family legislationn regardless of all its modifications and amendments. Currently the substantive law provisions are contained in  Chapter IV of the  Russian Family Code  1995, and the procedural rules are laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure.

First of all, a divorce can be made  through

Administrative procedure

(i) A civil acts officer (or a Russian consul if spouses live abroad) is competent to grant an administrative divorce under one of the following grounds:

(ii) If the couple has common minor children, the divorce is granted by court, Code of Civil Procedure allowing  a claimant to choose the court:

Court procedure

According to art. 22 of the Family Code  an irretrievable marital break-down is to be established in court. While evaluating the marital break-down, a court may take into account the following circumstances:

But if both spouses are consent the court may grant  divorce without evaluating the marital break-down and its causes (art. 23 of the Family Code). In addition to the Family Code and Code of Civil Procedre,  it is the Decree of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the 5th November 1998 No 15 “Regarding Applilcation by Courts of Legislation on Divorce”,  which further clarify material and procedural conditions and requirements  of divorce.

In fact, about 80% of all the divorces  are made through court procedure – see the Explanatory Note to the Draft Bill No 1056247-6  “On  Amendments to the Family Code and Article 233 of the Code of Civil Procedure “.  It is interesting to note that the legislator made an effort in this Draft  Bill (which failed) to strenghen the position of marriage by prolonging the period of administrative divorce (3 months) and   the court procedure (6 months) to allow spouses to  think over their decision.

Hence,  the Federal Law on Mediation 2011 states that mediation is possible in family law disputes.  Several regions have launched pilot projects for family mediation, which proved to be rather a  success.  Still, it  is very seldom used in court  procedure (in less that 1% of all family disputes  in 2015).

Matrimonial Property on Divorce

Given that the regime of matrimonial property is regulated in Russian Family Code, but dispositions  regarding the acquisition, possession, use of property in joint ownership are regulated by provisions of Russian Civil code, there is no question that division of matrimonial property on divorce is very complex. Hence, to avoid discrepancies and to further the more consistent judicial practice, the Draft Bill No. 835938-7 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation (regarding matrimonial property)” which is now under the second stage consideration in the State Duma,  aims to bring the provisions of family law in line with the provisions of civil law, bankruptcy law and state registration of real estate legislation.

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