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Disputes over children in Russia: custody and parenting time

In a divorce involving a dispute over children, the following questions inevitably arise:

1. Custody – with whom the children are to live
2. The question also arises of how the other, non-custodial, parent, can ensure his or her right to parent them.

Let’s talk about how to protect your right to involve with your child in Russia when you separate.

If the other parent blocks you from seeing the child, the parents' negotiations are the initial means of protection. If this does not work, you can file a complaint with the Custodianship and Guardianship Authorities, which will result in at least a conversation with the other parent. If this does not help, you should go to court.


You file a lawsuit in court, indicating the other parent as the defendant. In addition, as a third party, the Guardianship Authorities participates in the process, the representative of which expresses his or her opinion in the trial on the possible parenting plan.

Evidence in such cases in court, as a rule, is:

1. Testimony of witnesses who can tell something about the involvement of the parent with the child.

2. The examination of the parents’ living quarters. As part of the survey, the Guardianship Authorities check if the apartment has everything the child needs: clothing suitable for each season, toys, books, a bed, as well as a place to study and food.

3. Psychological and pedagogical testing, which includes testing the child (depending on age), as well as holding conversations between the parents and the child in the presence of an expert, so that the expert can establish the child's attachment to his or her parents.

4. Explanations of the child him- or herself in court, if he or she is already 10 years old.


The entire litigation takes from 4 months to 1 year (and sometimes more). The duration depends on whether the testing and apartment examination were appointed and how long they lasted, as well as whether the case was appealed in the second instance court.

Litigation costs:
– Filing fee – 300 rubles (about $5)
– Testing and examination costs – about 40,000 rubles (approximately $650)
– Expenses on a lawyer – determined by agreement between you and the lawyer.


Judicial practice shows that courts order a visitation plan guided by the equality of both parents in their rights to parent their child.

Courts always grant the non-custodial parent the right to communicate with their child. The only question is how long the communication will be: how many days a month, how many hours. In addition, courts make decisions regarding whether the parent shall take the child overnight at home or see him or her only during the day.

When a child is very close to the parent (e.g., father), the parenting schedule can be defined, for example, as three times a week on weekdays, and from Saturday to Sunday with an overnight stay at the weekend.

However, it's sometimes the case that courts determine visits, for example, only 4 days a month for several hours.

Nevertheless, the court will anyway establish some visitation time for you.


In 95% of these cases, the child remains to live with their mother. The only exceptions are cases where the mother leads an immoral lifestyle, has drug addiction or alcoholism, does not care for the child, neglects them, or there is evidence of damage to the child's health from the mother’s actions or inactions.

It’s always best to exercise caution and  hire a family lawyer if you are divorcing your spouse and want to defend your right to parent your common children. Feel free to reach us:
Tel: +7 909 961-19-09
Visit us: Moscow, Zubovskiy bulvar, building 4/1, office 308
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