Philipp Ryabchenko, Managing Partner of BIEL Law Firm, Gave a Comment on Family Law to REGNUM News Agency

18 March 2019

Philipp Ryabchenko, Managing Partner of BIEL Law Firm, gave a comment on family law to REGNUM News Agency

An issue relating to concealment of the family property by one of the spouses has arisen in the context of businessman Pavel Grudinin’s case. Such situations are unfortunately quite frequent.

In a classical family, it is the husband’s responsibility to earn money and maintain the family and the wife’s responsibility is to grow up children and run the house.

In such a situation, when their duties are divided, the spouses do not normally interfere in the spheres of responsibility of each other.

In case of a divorce and division of property, the wife has general information about the family’s well-being and the list of assets in most cases.

It is very rare that the wife knows the asset ownership structure and has at least copies of legally meaningful documents. The Russian procedural legislation fails to envisage a possibility to oblige a spouse to disclose information about family assets, as contemplated in other jurisdictions (for example, in England).

The unaware spouse is thus forced to search for information about the composition and structure of the family property on his or her own.

While some information can be found in the public domain and the property can be claimed to be divided, its unfound portion can remain undivided because there is no information about or evidence of ownership and the court may rightfully refuse to get involved in searching for the family property.

In my opinion, this situation indicates an imperfection of the procedural legislation and puts the less informed spouse into a patently weak position.