The former Malaysian King and his Russian beauty queen wife are now divorced after barely a year of marriage, according to reports in the Daily Mail.
Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan married Oksana Voevodina in Moscow during November 2018, before the former King abdicated the throne in January 2019.
The couple’s son was born in May of this year. The former Miss Moscow is reportedly now living in a country house near Moscow provided by Sultan Muhammad V, with her mother and her son.
According to the reports, the Islamic divorce was finalised at the beginning of July. A leaked certificate indicates that the ‘talak’ was said three times. This is an irreversible process of divorcing in Islam.
Sources have reportedly revealed that Oksana is still in love with the former King.
Oksana’s lawyer, Evgeny Tarlo, reportedly said: “Divorce is just talk, from a yellowish (scandalous) media. We have no official papers. We do not know anything.”
According to an article in the Straits Times, Oksana has refuted the claims that she is divorced from the former King.
“I have not been given any admonition of divorce,” she reportedly said. “I was in Russia with my child. We were not in Singapore in June for any divorce proceedings.”
“This is an act of provocation, we have never been divorced.”
The news outlet reported that a spokesperson for the Syariah Court in Singapore had said that there were no records of divorce filed by the couple at their court.
However, another article in the Straits Times claims that the Sultan of Kelantan’s Singapore lawyer has confirmed the divorce.
Is it possible to divorce someone without the other party knowing?
The divorce between Oksana Voevodina and the Sultan of Kelantan was reportedly conducted in accordance with syariah laws. In English and Welsh law, it is not normally possible to divorce without the other party being aware of the divorce proceedings and being able to provide a response (although it is possible to divorce, even if the other party disagrees, after 5 years of separation).
Does a divorce abroad stop you from conducting divorce proceedings or from making financial claims in another jurisdiction?
Neil Scott Graham, a partner at Grayfords comments as follows: “this is a complex area of divorce law. Much will depend upon the nature of the divorce process itself that has taken place abroad, whether that is capable of recognition in accordance with the law of another jurisdiction and whether the parties have a sufficient connection with that other jurisdiction to bring financial claims after a divorce abroad. Under the law of England and Wales, for example, it is possible to bring financial claims after a divorce abroad. However, permission has to be obtained first from the Court in order to bring those claims. The Court may be reluctant to allow those claims to proceed if the parties do not have a sufficient connection with England and Wales or if doing so would simply constitute a blatant attempt to obtain a more favourable result in another forum after a previous award elsewhere. Careful thought needs to be given to bringing such claims and specialist advice needs to be obtained first if the costs consequences of proceedings are to be avoided. We specialise in international cases at Grayfords and remain delighted to help with his and any other aspects of international divorce.”
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This article was written by Lauren Howells and Neil Graham.