International child abduction. Part 2. Russian lawyer Anton Zharov

How fast the child will be found?

Why exactly a lawyer Zharov?

Should there be any contact with an abductor?

Is it possible at this stage to solve the matter peacefully?

What to do if in Russia there has already been filed a suit for child’s residence? Or for divorce?

Hello, my name is Anton Zharov. I am a Russian lawyer, practise in Moscow, and we are going to talk about international child abduction.

Last time I told you in which cases the Convention on international child abduction is invoked and where to start. Today we are going to talk about how to bring about an amicable resolution and what you need a lawyer for in this process. 

How fast the child will be found?

The process of child return starts with locating the child in the Russian Federation. If you know the address where the child is that is enough to go to court. But if you do not know the address or you are not sure about the address, then you will have to start the procedure of child search. In Russia it is carried out by Bailiffs Service at the special request of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. You should file an appropriate application there and the search will be organised.

As practice shows, it takes several weeks or even several months that is why as soon as the child was abducted, you should submit an application forthwith.

Why exactly a lawyer Zharov?

The Convention on international child abduction has been being invoked rather recently in the Russian Federation and there are comparatively a few specialists who have some kind of experience in application of this Convention. 

Our law firm – Lawyer Zharov’s team is engaged with children return after international abduction from the very first day when the Convention came into force and we have accumulated certain experience in returning children from the Russian Federation to the countries where they were abducted from. And by the way vice versa as well. That is why turning to me would be a rather sensible step in this case. 

Besides Lawyer Zharov’s team specialises exactly on family law cases and we are a leading law firm in these issues in the Russian Federation in domestic judicial cases.


Should there be any contact with an abductor?

Now you have submitted an application on child’s return to the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation or you have sent it through your Central Authority or got help from a lawyer in the Russian Federation. Do you need to try to contact an abductor – the parent who removed your child? In my opinion, of course you should do it because to try to bring about an amicable resolution is always useful no matter how difficult the situation is. Sometimes people manage to reach an agreement, and you cannot lose this chance. Besides you should constantly demand that the second parent who removed the child gives you the opportunity at least to communicate with the child.

Is it possible at this stage to solve the matter peacefully?

The lawyers object is to solve the situation, to get the result, and not indispensable go to court, thus in some cases we manage to reach an agreement with the parent – abductor that the situation will be solved anyway. Sometimes it is solved by the return of the parent with the child to the country where he or she was removed from, sometimes by signing an amicable agreement on how from now the parents would exercise their parental rights, but anyway there is no obligatory object to go to court. If it is possible to reach an agreement then we would try to seek it. 

It is very important to notice here that all the results of your agreements must be secured on paper. Certainly here the lawyer will help you.

What to do if in Russia there has already been filed a suit for child’s residence? Or for divorce?

It often happens that a parent-abductor who removes a child to the Russian Federation files immediately a lawsuit in the Russian Federation for the determination of the place of residence with him or her. It is such an analogue of “sole custody” in Russian law when there is chosen the parent who determines where the child will reside and who this child will reside respectively with. Or there is filed a lawsuit for a divorce together with the demand to recognise the place of residence with the parent who he or she came to Russia with.

This situation is stipulated by Russian law. If you submit an application for the return of the child under the Convention to the Russian court other cases connected with child custody will be suspended until the settlement of the question whether the child returns to the country where he or she was abducted from or the court finds out exceptional circumstances and does not return the child.

I would like to attract your attention to the fact that Russian courts apply international law extremely difficult in their practice. And if in some region, in some remote district the parent-abductor filed a suit for the determination of the child place of residence, there are needed special legal efforts to explain to the court that this case must be suspended until the question of child return is resolved. In the Russian Federation 10 courts for the whole country hear cases on children return under the international treaty and these courts are professional but the cases of child custody can be heard in any district court in the Russian Federation and to explain it that it is necessary to invoke the Convention here is not an easy task even for an experienced Russian lawyer.

I really wish you that exactly your case would end in peace that you would not quarrel, would not go to the court but would reach an agreement on what would be next, how you would educate the child together with the parent-abductor. But if the case came to court, I would tell you next time where to start and how to go to court correctly.