The Oakland County Circuit Court has recently decided to enforce a judgment issued by the District Court for the City of St. Petersburg, Russia, in a family law proceeding. The case began in the Russian courts, where attorneys from our St. Petersburg office who were representing the husband were successful in obtaining an order annulling the marriage. However, that ruling was challenged by a complaint seeking divorce, child support and a division of property, which was filed by the wife in the Oakland County Circuit Court. The firm’s Michigan lawyers were able to obtain a motion to dismiss the divorce complaint based on the decision of the Russian court.
What makes this case so unusual is the that the Oakland County Circuit Court applied a Russian court decision to a matter within the jurisdiction of Oakland County. Judge Andrews, in a lengthy opinion, agreed that the Uniform Foreign Money Judgments Recognition Act and other Michigan and U.S. court precedents dictated that the Russian annulment was valid and enforceable in Michigan. The opinion establishes that Russian decisions may be binding in U.S. courts under the appropriate statutes, international treaties and applicable case law.
The assistance of the firm’s St. Petersburg office, AmRos Partners, was instrumental in facilitating representation of our clients in the court proceedings held in Russia. While this particular case related to a family law issue, the precedent is applicable to a broader range of commercial and business issues. Recognition of the validity of Russian court decisions in Michigan strengthens the ability of American and Michigan businesses and citizens to conduct their commercial and personal affairs in Russia