Legal Magazine

Divorce in Brazil Between Brazilians and Foreigners

Posted on the 09 August 2013 by Angelicolaw @AngelicoLaw

Divorce in Brazil is on the rise after only becoming legal in 1977. According to Brazil’s IBGE statistics agency, the number of married Brazilians getting divorced reached a record high of 351,153 in 2011. That number represents a 46% jump from 2010.

The apparent cause of the surge in divorces was a change in the divorce law. Prior to 2010, Brazilians had to first be separated for a year with the approval of a judge before they could get divorced.  But after Constitutional amendment n° 66 in 2011 that eliminated the waiting period, couples can now get a divorce in Brazil much quicker. The amendment also eliminated the requirement for couples to state a specific reason for the divorce.

Divorce in Brazil Requires a Valid Marriage

In order for a divorce between a Brazilian and a foreigner to be valid in Brazil, the marriage must be valid in Brazil. This means that the couple must have first gotten married in Brazil or their foreign marriage must have been properly registered in Brazil.

However, a divorce in Brazil between a validly married Brazilian and a foreigner that takes place outside of Brazil is not automatically recognized in Brazil. Divorces outside of Brazil will only be valid in Brazil after going through a judicial process known as homologation.

The Amicable or Uncontested Divorce

This is the quickest divorce. When the divorce is amicable, or uncontested, it means that the couple agrees to all of the terms of the divorce. If there are no minor children, the couple can sign the divorce documents and have them notarized and filed with the notary office, completing the divorce.

The Contested Divorce

When the couple can’t agree to the terms of the divorce, or where there are minor children to consider, they must each hire attorneys to settle matters such as child custody, visitation rights, child support, division of marital property, and alimony payments.

If you are involved in a contested divorce in Brazil, it is important for your lawyer to know where in Brazil you were married or where your foreign marriage is registered. Your lawyer also needs to know what assets you have, in what country your assets are located, and how you would like them to be divided. Only when armed with this information can your lawyer effectively negotiate the terms of your divorce.

While a divorce in Brazil between a Brazilian and a foreigner takes much less time to finalize than it did a few years ago, there are lots of important issues to be resolved, so it is advisable to seek legal counsel.

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