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98% Skip Alimony Payments in Moscow

Only 2 percent of alimony payers in Moscow part with the money voluntarily, while the rest of the cases require the intervention of court marshals — who have barred thousands of debtors from leaving the country, officials said Tuesday.

There are 45,000 alimony payers currently registered with Moscow court marshals, with only 770 of them paying promptly and of their own will, said the city's branch of the Federal Service of Court Marshals.

The figures include all men and women, Russians and foreigners, under court orders to pay alimony. No separate statistics are available for these categories, the agency said.

“We don't care about the gender or nationality of a debtor,” an agency spokeswoman told The Moscow Times on Tuesday.

There is also no data on how many people in Moscow and all of Russia are liable for alimony because many people choose not to seek payments, she said.

Artur Parfyonchikov, head of the Federal Service of Court Marshals, said about 52,000 alimony payers have been barred from leaving Russia this year because of outstanding payments.

“During the first eight months of the year, more than 185,000 debtors were restricted from going abroad. About one-third of those have alimony debts,” Parfyonchikov said, Interfax reported.

Of the 1.8 billion rubles ($56 million) collected by court marshals nationwide last year, 68 million rubles ($2.2 million) were alimony payments, Parfyonchikov said.

“The problem of alimony debts has always existed, before and after the financial crisis, and it remains,” said Tatyana Ketman, a lawyer with the Center of Family Law.

“Those who want to pay will pay, while the others do everything possible to hide their property," she said by telephone.

The number of alimony payers has increased to 12,700 from January to July, compared with 2,300 over the same period last year, Gennady Ivanov, a senior official with the Federal Service of Court Marshals, said last month. He did not elaborate on the cause of the increase.

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