Divorce Proceeding between Citizens of the RA and Foreign Citizens
Foreigners and stateless persons in the territory of the Republic of Armenia have the same rights and freedoms and perform the same obligations as citizens of the Republic of Armenia. Moreover, initiating divorce proceeding with a foreign citizen will not be different from the divorce process with a citizen of the Republic of Armenia. This can be carried out through the Civil Registry Office or through a court proceeding. The joint petition of spouses is necessary for the divorce with a foreign citizen through the Civil Registry Office in the Republic of Armenia.If a foreign spouse cannot be present in person it is necessary to receive notarized consent to the divorce. In some cases, it must be apostilled and/or legalized. In case if the foreign person does not agree with the implementation of divorce through the Civil Registry Office he/she should apply to the court of that State. Please note it is easier and less stressful to apply for a divorce proceeding in Civil Registry of the Republic of Armenia.
List of the documents required for divorce proceeding with a foreign citizen/stateless person in the Republic of Armenia:
- suit for divorce;
- marriage certificate;
- copies of passports;
- receipt confirming payment of the state duty;
This list is approximate and may change depending on circumstances of the case. In case of presence of a mutual consent of spouses decision on granting a divorce will be handled by the said court within a month from the day of filing a suit for divorce.
The divorce with a foreign citizen/stateless person
The dissolution of marriage with a foreign citizen/stateless person is linked to additional particularities. In this case, the parties may divorce in the Republic of Armenia or in the territory of a foreign country. Divorce in the Republic of Armenia will be registered in accordance with the domestic legislation of the Republic of Armenia. According to the legislation of the Republic of Armenia foreign stateless persons enjoy the same rights and freedoms, perform the same obligations as citizens of the Republic of Armenia, except in cases established by The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and statutes or international treaties of the Republic of Armenia. Moreover, termination of marital relations with a foreign citizen/stateless person is executed on the same grounds as the divorce between citizens of the Republic of Armenia. This is filed at the Civil Registry Office or through the court proceeding. The divorce process through the Civil Registry Office is made by virtue of a joint petition of spouses in the Republic of Armenia. If a foreign spouse is unable to be present in person for objective reasons, the other spouse must send an example of a petition for divorce to the spouse who is abroad. The foreign spouse must translate that petition into the national language of his/her country, correctly fill it in, in some cases also to notarize and legalize the translated petition. Then he/she should send that petition back to the Armenian spouse or to his/her legally authorized proxy acting on his/her behalf, which the Armenian spouse will translate it into Armenian, legalize and notarize it.
It is also possible to divorce in court action in cases when:
- both spouses agree to divorce through the Civil Registry Office, but nevertheless, they wish to divorce in court;
- only one of the spouses wishes to divorce in court.
If the divorce procedure with a foreign citizen/stateless person is based on the mutual agreement of the spouses, additionally it is necessary to resolve any issues regarding any existing children’s maintenance, education and living arrangement/expenses. A prevalent method of a divorce with a foreign citizen/stateless person in the Republic of Armenia is filing a suit for divorce by one of the spouses only. Suits for divorce may be filed at the place of current residence or permanent stay of the plaintiff, when:
- juveniles or minors live with him/her;
- state of health does not allow leaving the place of residence of the defendant;
- spouses made an arrangement about a place of where to apply for divorce;
- there are some other valid reasons.
The plaintiff must present documents, confirming the inability of his/her leaving the court at the defendant’s place of residence. In case of divorce with a foreign citizen who doesn’t have a place of permanent residence in the Republic of Armenia, the suit can be presented to the court at the location of his/her property or at the last known place of his/her residence or stay in the Republic of Armenia. Suits for divorce with a person, who doesn’t have a place of residence or whose place of residence is unknown, may be filed to the court at the place of location of defendant’s property or at the last known place of his/her residence or stay. In case if juveniles and/or minor children live with the plaintiff, he/she cannot leave for the defendant’s place for health reasons, or for other valid reasons, the divorce action is brought by the plaintiff’s place of residence.
In accordance with the Civil Procedure Code of Armenia claim for a divorce may be submitted at the place of residence of both spouses in case of mutual agreement between them. Legalization and apostille stamp issued on the marriage certificate is the official confirmation of its authenticity for the use in the territory of the Republic of Armenia. The procedure of legalization of a marriage entered into abroad demands significant investments of time and money. The documents issued by the states, which are not parties to the 1961 Hague Convention, are subject to mandatory legalization (United Arabian Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya, many others). The Republic of Armenia ratified the convention and facilitated the procedure of authentication of documents issued by foreign countries’ authorities. Therefore recognition of documents among member countries takes place by stamping apostille stamp.
Legal support during the divorce with a foreigner in Armenia
When entering into marriage with a citizen of another country, very few people realize the huge quantity of questions and possible problems, which can arise when divorcing later on. Such kind of family relationship is always risky. It is not even the legal complexity of such matters, though it is also essential, but rather the differences of nature, worldview, cultures, and possibilities of living together. Moreover, different attitudes to the nature of what marriage makes, many think about the divorce and its consequences. The divorce with a foreign spouse is not a very difficult procedure in itself. Any complications are usually generated by the consequences, which the divorce might cause in the context of the division of their joint property and issues concerning their children if any.
If you intend to divorce with a foreign citizen, it is required to engage a qualified family/divorce lawyer in order to:
- to avoid abuse of your rights, especially if you are abroad and your spouse insists on divorce proceeding by his/her country’s laws;
- to make the division of property less stressful and to minimize risks of other consequences;
- to avoid the pressure of the foreign spouse, with regards to the differences between the legislation of the Republic of Armenia and a foreign country.
General rules of divorce with a foreigner in Armenia
Any citizen of the Republic of Armenia has a right to claim a divorce with a foreign spouse in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Armenia. However, one should realize that the country of the spouse may not recognize the divorce with a foreigner, registered in the Republic of Armenia. That is usually due to an absence of an international treaty between the said countries. The divorce with a foreign citizen in the Republic of Armenia is allowed in the absence of latter under the condition of observance of his/her rights and he/she must be informed about the future divorce proceeding. If provisions of a foreign legislation on the legitimacy of divorce are observed, the divorce, registered abroad, is recognized in the territory of the Republic of Armenia. The divorce in the Republic of Armenia is subject to provisions of RA legislation. Issues on a division of property are considered in accordance with the law of the country of plaintiff’s location. Armenian courts, unless otherwise is provided by an international treaty, will only resolve the disputes about the property located in the Republic of Armenia. If the divorce of an Armenian citizen with a foreign citizen is linked to a dispute about children, the resolution of this question depends on a child’s citizenship, country of residence (usual and permanent stay), existence/absence of international treaty and other sensitivities. One should take note that approach of Armenian judicial system is quite different from the approach of the most countries, which usually take the side of their own citizens. As a rule, Armenian courts are entitled to consider disputes about children, if the latter are citizens of the Republic of Armenia.