Case of the Day: Panchenkova v. Chigirisnky

The case of the day is Panchenkova v. Chigirinsky (Conn. Super. Ct. 2015). Tatiana Panchenkova and Shalva Chigirinsky were married in Russia in 2003. In 2009 they divorced, and a Russian court ordered Chigirinsky to pay one-half of his income to the wife as child support. The court also divided the parties’ assets evenly, and because Chigirinsky was awarded certain particularly valuable assets, the award included an order requiring him to pay Panchenkova more than 350,000 rubles. Panchenkova, who then resided in Connecticut, sought recognition and enforcement of the Russian judgment.

Because Panchenkova was proceeding under Connecticut’s enactment of the UFMJRA, which carves out of the definition of “foreign judgment” any “judgment for support in matrimonial or family matters.” Relying on Connecticut precedent in domestic cases, the court held that a judgment for a lump sum in a property division proceeding is a property settlement, not alimony. Thus the Russian judgment was not a judgment for support, and it could be recognized under the statute.

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