New law to protect children of international marriages

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is currently looking to implement new laws that would give children more protection if their parents get divorced.

With about 700,000 divorces taking place in Russia every year the problem has recently become an urgent one, and has started to involve celebrities and rich businessmen. At present, Russian law gives parents equal rights to custody over children, but de facto the courts usually rule in the mother’s favor. The situation, however, has started to change.

Another issue is the fate of children from international marriages. Russian law does not consider it an offense if one of the divorced parents kidnaps the child, but abroad the laws are different. There have been several such high-profile cases, including one of a Finnish diplomat who smuggled his son across the border in the boot of his diplomatic car. In France, one girl was abducted at least three times by either her Russian mother or French father, and eventually the situation required the involvement of the Russian Foreign Minister.

The main problem is that Russia has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The authorities are now looking into it, however.

Andrei Knyazev, the head of the Knyazev and Partners law firm, told RT that the new Russian law must be adjusted to be more like the one in Europe and the United States, where the child has a say in divorce processes regarding which parent the child chooses to stay with. With international marriages on the rise in Russia, the country must approve new legal norms that would be closer to European ones, Knyazev said.