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Let’s take a prenuptial agreement as an example, under which one of the parties is a Russian citizen and the other is a foreigner. Here’s what we do in that case:

Ordinarily interaction with a notary takes place directly: the client contacts us and assigns us with the task of getting a specific document certified at a specific notary, after which a visitation date at a notarial office is set, the notary formalizes the documents, and passed them on to the filer.

In our case, however, things aren't such a breeze. We work with foreigners a lot. They might not speak Russian. They might not know the first thing about the legal environment in Russia.

Let’s take a prenuptial agreement as an example, under which one of the parties is a Russian citizen and the other is a foreigner. Here's what we do in that case:

  • We consult our client in advance on all the aspects of family law in the Russian Federation, including the property issues, as well as explaining what provisions can be included in a prenuptial agreement, which ones can be included in another agreement (contract), and which are totally impossible to envisage in the document so that it bears legal force on the territory of the Russian Federation.
  • We contact the notary and coordinate a sequence of activities. No respectable lawyer just works with a random notary that they just found on Google maps. Over our many years of practice, we have developed successful work relations with several notaries in Moscow and those are the ones we work with concerning any and all issues that our clients have in the sphere.
  • We obtain from our clients their intentions (must be in writing) regarding what they'd like to see in the prenuptial agreement as well as scans of the documents necessary to draft the agreement. If their wishes are feasible, the lawyer then contacts a notary, and the notary begins preparing the project. Then there are wishes that can't be implemented in such an agreement. We return to item 1): we clarify and adjust our clients’ wishes based on the legal environment in Russia.
  • After obtaining the agreement project, we translate it into the foreign language. Our stance is that each of the spouses or former spouses must read such an important document in their native tongues.
  • We discuss the project with the spouses or future spouses. If necessary, we make amendments to the document and have each spouse approve the amendments.
  • When the prenuptial agreement is fully coordinated, we schedule a date and time with the notary to have the document signed. We prepare a notarial translation of the foreigner's passport and organize an interpreter to visit the notarial office for the formalization procedure. The prenuptial agreement is signed in two languages by the parties.
  • Then we turn to certifying the agreement: we have it apostilled or organize consular certification for any countries in the world. We also perform a translation into the necessary foreign language, if need be.

As you can see, the involvement of a lawyer in such a procedure is practically inevitable. A lawyer is also necessary if the document is complex and requires coordination. It's unlikely that the notary would go through all that trouble with the parties, prepare dozens of projects, consult the signors, enter amendments, consult them again, and then enter amendments into the documents again.

As a whole, if you want to have a specialist on your side (recall that the notary is a neutral entity, unlike a lawyer) defending your interests specifically, hiring a lawyer is a wise idea. The lawyer will also assume all of the organizational and coordination fuss in bringing together all of the persons involved in the procedure of formalizing the necessary documents, which will at the very least save you time and spare you all the headache that goes with that.

Do any of these circumstances apply to you? Get in touch with us to discuss your situation in greater detail. The consultation can be conducted in person at our office as well as online.

Notarial Actions Involving Foreigners

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