Fake Marriage: A Huge Problem For Many Latvian Women

14.12.2011 Karina Katz, lawyer

Due to the current social and economic situation in Latvia a number of people leaving this country in order to seek employment abroad is constantly increasing. At the same time a problem of fake marriages is becoming more and more serious for the Latvian women who step into such marriages while working in foreign countries, including Ireland. It is quite obvious that these women have left Latvia seeking a better life and a number of them truly believe that fake marriage will solve their financial problems.

Unfortunately in most cases fake marriage not only deteriorates their quality of life, but on the contrary – leads to very dramatic consequences, including even human trafficking. Inga Paparde from the newspaper Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze tells about this situation in her article “Fake fiances take advantage of young Latvian women’s hard lives” of 13th December 2011: 

“The situation is really dramatic – says Liga Bergmane, head of the Condular department of the Ministry of Foreign affairs. Women who step into the fake marriage usually are under 20, most of them have been brought up in poor large families, some of them even have physical disabilities. This year most marriages have been concluded with the citizens of Pakistan.

Within the framework of the event organized by the society “Shelter “Safe House” (Patvērums Drošā māja) Ms. Bergmane said that last year, on the basis of the marriage with citizens of the third countries Latvian citizens in Ireland have required 436 residence permits, and this year from January till August 199 residence permits have been requested (most of all – with the citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India). According to the Latvian embassy in Ireland, 5-6 citizens of Latvia visit the embassy every week in order to settle all the necessary formalities for entering into marriage in Ireland. 

The embassy has carried out research in order to learn more about the typical fiancée stepping into the fake marriage. At the moment the embassy has summarized information about 235 female citizens of Latvia who entered into the marriage in Ireland. “If we try to create a social portrait of such women the situation looks very dramatic: 56 citizens of Latvia who expressed their willingness to enter into such a marriage were under 20. 79 women were brought up in large, economically disadvantaged families,” says Liga Bergmane. Many young girls have been under guardianship till 18, a lot of then have lost one or both parents. Many fiancées are single mothers, many of them have not finished school. Approximately a forth part of fiancées had underage children, a lot of mother have been deprived of parental rights.

According to the experts, a considerable part of socially unprotected fiancées are induced into the trap of the fake marriage having received offers via social network. In most cases they are unable to assess the situation and make a correct decision. According to the embassy, there have been more and more cases when Latvian citizens turn to the embassy for help having suffered from violence in a fake marriage.” 

Undoubtedly such marriages violates women’s rights, threaten their health and safety and therefore fake marriages must be dissolved. There are several ways to dissolve such marriages: first of all, one shall consider divorcing in the country where the marriage was registered, via the court. Based on our experience, the said process may be quite often an expensive one as well as time-consuming. The second way is to dissolve a fake marriage via the Latvian court. We usually recommend this way to our clients in the cases when there are children born in the marriage or any disputes arise out of custody over children or property division. And the third way is to dissolve a marriage at the notary public of Latvia, which became possible relatively recently, since February 1, 2011. During this period we have rendered help in the process of marriage dissolution to many foreign clients without children and common property or any disputes arising thereof. Law office INLAT PLUS renders highly-qualified assistance in the dissolution of marriages concluded in different countries and provides full support of the process through both the Latvian courts and at the notary public. After careful examination of a certain situation our lawyers will offer the most appropriate way for marriage dissolution and will accompany the client through the whole process of divorce from A to Z.

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