I have a friend, a Russian woman, who married an American. The marriage lasted about a year, she left and returned pregnant to Russia. Her child was born in Russia. Can she get child support from her American husband who lives in California and how would she do that ?
State/Country relating to question: California
This is the first attempt to sort this out.
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Ok so the wife has returned to Russia and had the child, and now the husband is worried about paying child support?
The only way she could legally assess child support against the husband would be to obtain a divorce from the husband in California and get a child support order as a part of that divorce. If she filed for divorce in Russia, the courts there would not recognize the marriage for jurisdictional purposes and also any order handed down over there would not be recognized by American courts. Therefore, the answer to your question is she will have to return here to California and file for divorce from her husband.
Thanks for the reply. The problem with her returning to California is that she is concerned that her husband will sue for custody and will try to prevent her leaving the US with her son without his permission. Is there any way for her to obtain a California divorce without returning, for example, can she have a lawyer file on her behalf?
She could have a lawyer do that, but eventually she would have to return to proceed.
But, an attorney representing the husband could argue that jurisdiction is not proper.
Was she granted US citizenship because of the marriage?
What if she returns to California alone to file for divorce leaving her son with her family in Russia ? Does that eliminate the possibility of the court enforcing shared custody as teh child is overseas? Or can the court withold child support payment from the father until custody issues are settled to his satisfaction. Can she prevented legally from leaving the uS until custody issues are settled theough the court.
Sorry for the typos, not used to this system.
I meant to say, can she be prevented from leaving the US until custidy issues are settled between her and the father?
She will probably not be prevented from leaving, however, the court would order what is known as a pendente lite arrangement for the child. This means pending litigation. The court will put in place a temporary custodial arrangement that could possibly allow for visitation with the father. However, the court will also require that paternity be established, even though they were married. This is pretty standard.
She had not received her green card before she decided to leave for Russia. The problems between her and her husband were serious enough for her to give up a life in the US. I assume she would have to return on a tourist visa. The paternity issue is not a problem. He accepts the child is his.
I understand but the court requires paternity to be established through a court ordered paternity test. Also, on the issue of filing, if she left before the green card issued, she probably will not be able to file in the US as she is not technically a US citizen, and therefore, still an immigrant.
My understanding is she no longer has immigrant status. She cannot file for divorce becuse she is not a US citizen? How then does she get divorced?
My understanding on immigration, which is vague, is that an immigrant who marries a US citizen is put on the fast track to becoming a citizen, if not made a citizen pursuant to that marriage. Therefore, if she is deemed to be a US citizen she could file for divorce if she were to return. Additionally, your friend could file for divorce in the county in which he was married if he knows her address and can have her served in Russia. In that divorce he could ask for custody of the child as well as child support from her.
Meaning that If I were your friend I would consult a family law attorney there in your jurisdiction to go ahead and file for divorce if they were legally married in California.
He has a professional job in California, she is unemployed in Russia. I am fairly certain that she would have to return here on a tourist visa. I just want to be sure she can file for divorce as a non-immigrant. And just so I am finally clear, your advice would be for her to hire a lawyer in the county in which they were maried and file for divorce. She can do that without being n the US? But at some point in the process she will have to be physically present in the US in order to conclude the legal proceedings? Could you give me a ballpark figure of what a lawyer would charge for a case like this?
That is all correct.
A ballpark figure is hard to estimate because it really depends on the reputation of the lawyer and experience as well as the complexity of the case.
For something like this I would guess around 5k-10k
Retainer up front
It seems that this case will be a mix of family aw and immigration law and is likely to be complex. Thank you for your advice.
You are welcome, if this answers your question please click the accept button.
I am well equipped to handle any family law problem you might have.
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