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Divorce in Portugal

Divorce of foreigners in Portugal can occur by agreement or without agreement between the spouses, amicably or in court.

Any foreigner in Portugal, regardless of nationality or legal status (whether or not he is regular in the country) can apply for a divorce, provided that one of the spouses is resident in the country.

The decision is valid in any country in the world, but for the act to have legal effects outside the European Union, it must be duly recognized in the country of law, as there are specific rules for recording divorces carried out abroad.

In this article, we are going to talk about divorce in Portugal, ratification of a foreign judgment in Portugal, what to do and what the costs are, in case you are going through this situation.   

Approval of Divorce in Portugal

According to the Justice of Portugal, divorce in Portugal can be requested by the members of the couple or by representatives of the members of the couple.

The divorce of a Portuguese citizen carried out abroad, in order to be valid and effective in Portugal, must be recognized and approved by the Portuguese Court.

The process of homologation of foreign judgment is a procedure that aims to give effectiveness to the foreign judicial act and its review and confirmation takes place in the Court of Appeal.

Recognition of the act of dissolution can be done both in the case of a divorce judicial process that has already become final (consensual or litigious), and in the case of a consensual divorce carried out by public deed in a notary’s office.

How to Apply for a Divorce in Portugal

To apply for divorce in Portugal by mutual consent (when both parties agree), the members of the couple or the attorneys representing them must submit the following documents to the civil registry office:

  • Request for separation of persons and property by mutual consent;
  • List of the couple’s assets with values;
  • Certificate of the court decision or document proving that the couple is in agreement on the way in which parental authority over minor children will be exercised;
  • Document that establishes the amount agreed between the couple for alimony (if any);
  • Document that informs what will happen to the house where the family lives;

Judicial Separation by Mutual Consent

The process is initiated by means of an application signed by the couple or their attorneys and presented at any civil registry office.

The application begins with the mentioned documents and the marriage certificate.

With the request, the registrar summons the couple to a conference, where the documents are verified and the spouses are informed about the existence of family mediation services, in order to find a way to resolve the couple’s disagreements and, consequently, to prevent the separation.

If the couple persists with the intention of getting a divorce, the agreements are formalized and the couple is invited to change them if they do not protect the interests of either party or the children, being able to define for this purpose the practice of certain acts and the production of evidence.

After verifying the legal presuppositions referring to the civil process and observing all the procedures, the registrar declares that the request has been accepted.

Divorce and Minors

When an agreement is presented on parental responsibilities for minor children, the case is sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office together with the competent judicial court in the sphere of the district to which the registry office belongs, so that it can pronounce itself, within 30 days, in relation to the wake up.

If the Public Prosecutor considers that the agreement does not adequately guarantee the interests of minors, applicants can amend it accordingly or submit a new agreement.

If the Public Ministry considers that the agreement duly protects the interests of the minors or if the spouses have amended the agreement in the terms indicated by the Public Ministry, a divorce will be decreed.

In situations in which applicants do not accept the amendments indicated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and maintain the desire to divorce, or if the agreements do not sufficiently protect the interests of one of the spouses, approval must be refused and the divorce case returned to the court. of the region to which the registry office belongs.

Once the process is received, the judge analyzes the agreements presented, invites the parties to change them if they do not guarantee the interests of any of the parties or the children.

The judge will then determine the consequences of the divorce and may determine the practice of new acts and the production of evidence that may be necessary.

Then, the divorce will be decreed, proceeding with the corresponding registration.

To resolve on the division of assets, the couple can also resort to the Desk for Inheritance and Divorce with Sharing.

Divorce in Court

Requests for divorce without the consent of one of the spouses are submitted to the Family and Minors Court or, if there is none, the Local Civil Court or the Court of General Jurisdiction with territorial jurisdiction.

This territorial jurisdiction is defined as a function of the domicile or residence of the plaintiff (the person bringing the action).

Divorce without consent of one of the spouses can be requested by either of them on the basis of de facto separation for one year, as well as:

In the alteration of the mental faculties of the other spouse, when it lasts for more than a year and, due to its severity, compromises the possibility of conjugal life;
In the absence, without news, from one year onwards;
In other facts, which, regardless of the couple’s fault, prove the definitive end of the marriage.

The “injured” party has the right to request compensation for damages caused by the other spouse, under the general terms of civil liability and in the common courts.

The spouse who requested a divorce based on the change in the mental faculties of the other spouse must repair the non-property damage caused to him by the end of the marriage, a request that must be deducted in the divorce action itself.

Cost of Divorce in Portugal?

The process of divorce by mutual consent costs 280 euros and is free for those who prove that they cannot afford the costs. The test can be carried out through:

A document issued by the competent administrative authority;
A statement made by the public social assistance institution where they are hospitalized;
A document issued by Social Security;
Proof that they benefit from legal aid with full waiver of the court fee and other process charges.

If only one member of the couple can benefit from the free process, the other must pay half of the costs.

Divorce Requests in Portugal. How to?

The request for divorce by mutual consent can be made at any civil registry office or online, using the Citizen Card.

The divorce without agreement of one of the members of the couple must be requested in court by one of the spouses against the other, being based on legally foreseen facts or others that, regardless of the spouses’ fault, show the definitive end of the marriage.

Foreigners Divorce in Portugal

As mentioned earlier, any foreigner in Portugal, regardless of nationality or legal status, whether or not he is regular in the country, can request a divorce, even if the marriage was celebrated in Brazil or in another country.

Portuguese law provides that the divorce of foreign citizens can be decreed in Portugal, provided that at least one of the spouses is resident in Portugal.

Thus, Brazilians without Portuguese citizenship will also be able to obtain a divorce in Portugal, even in cases where the marriage was celebrated in Brazil or another country, provided that one of the spouses is resident in Portugal.

It is the citizen’s obligation to keep their marital status updated in all countries where they have citizenship and residency.

If the divorce took place outside Portugal, its approval, as seen above, is the only way to update your marital status in the country.

Any subsequent procedure depends on this approval, such as: another marriage or confirmation of a stable union, citizenship processes, requests for residence visas by family reunion to the new spouse, among others.

We have lawyers specialists in marriage and divorce for  foreigners in Portugal.

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