How to divorce in Portugal Understanding your options and the documentation required

In Portugal, the legal grounds for divorce are subject to Decree-Law No. 47344. We discuss the different legal grounds for divorce in Portugal, the different types of divorce, and what documentation is required to obtain a divorce in Portugal.

Common queries on getting a divorce in Portugal.

The different types of divorce in Portugal.

Find out what the legal grounds for divorce are in Portugal.

How the child arrangements are dealt with in Portugal.

How to contest a divorce in Portugal.

The documents you will need to prepare to get a divorce in Portugal.

Find out how our Portuguese family lawyers can assist.

Common concerns on getting a divorce in Portugal.

What are the different types of divorce in Portugal?

There are three types of divorce in Portugal. If there is agreement between the couple, mutual consent is the fastest and most convenient option for getting a divorce in Portugal. However, this option requires both parties to agree on all the options linked to their divorce, such as child arrangement and division of the matrimonal assets and financial arrangements, which is understandably not always possible.

A contested divorce, on the other hand, is a more drawn-out procedure, and often takes place in a courtroom.

The different types of divorce in Portugal:

  • By mutual consent through a Civil Registry Office: this is when both parties are in agreement to ending their marriage and also agree on all the surrounding issues regarding childcare, spousal maintenance, and assets division as well as arrangements for any pets, should the couple have any. You will be required to provide to the registrar with written statements confirming your mutual decision to divorce together with the agreed child arrangements if there are any children of the marriage that are under the age of majority. Also, how the matrimonial assets will be divided, including the matrimonial home. Where there are children the Public Prosecution Service will review the arrangements. You do not have to disclose your motives for requesting a divorce.
  • By mutual consent in court: this occurs if both parties agree to end the marriage, but cannot agree on the other issues involved.
  • Without the consent of one spouse: this is when only one party wishes to end the marriage. This is often a lengthy, complex process, involving a court hearing.

Are you looking for assistance in getting a divorce in Portugal? Contact our multilingual lawyers today.

What are the legal grounds for divorce in Portugal?

The grounds provided under the Portuguese Civil Code, that governs all civil matters including marriage are as follows:

  • Separation for a period of one year
  • If the prolonged mental health of one spouse is sufficiently severe to prevent normal life together
  • Desertion by one party for one year or more
  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for any reason regardless of blame

You do not need the consent of your partner to apply for divorce in Portugal. However, embarking on divorce without the consent of both parties can be a lengthy and costly experience and must be heard in court.

Do you need assistance in getting a divorce in Portugal? Contact our Portuguese lawyers today.

Can you attempt to reconcile a marriage in Portugal through mediation?

If you feel it will be possible to come to a resolution instead of a divorce, then a professional family mediator will help you to reconcile if this is possible. However, if mediation is unsuccessful, you will need to file for divorce.

You can discuss mediation with our Portuguese team.

How are child arrangement managed in divorce cases in Portugal?

The Public Prosecution Service

In divorce cases involving children are monitored by the Public Prosecution Service in Portugal which will also verify the agreements reached regarding the children. If both parents reach an acceptable agreement for the children, a judge may consent the mutual divorce in Portugal and make it official.

Court hearings

In a court hearing where both parents cannot come to an agreement on child arrangements, the court will make the decision based on what is in the best interests of the children including education, financial support, and other factors.

Responsibilities following the divorce

Following a divorce, Portuguese family law asserts that both parents must agree to take care of the education and the good upbringing of the minor children of the marriage. The child will reside with one parent and the other will share the expenses, including food and clothing, until the child reaches the age of 18.

The Portuguese authorities place great importance on the protection of minor children and their rights, and there are serious consequences for parents who abandon their parental rights or if the non-custodial parent attempts child abduction. The penalties may involve imprisonment in some cases.

How to contest a divorce

The local office of the Family Proceedings Court in Portugal deals with contested issues which can appear if, after a settled divorce petition, in relation to the associated issues such as the financial or child arrangements. As soon as you have started a petition for, the should instruct a lawyer who lawyer will discuss all the issues. In most contested divorces, a judge will make a final decision within 30 days.

What is the difference between legal separation and divorce in Portugal?

Legal separation is an alternative to divorce. It does not dissolve the union like a divorce; however, it eliminates cohabitation and shared land obligations.

While a legal separation can be updated to divorce when the couple has been separated for one year. Legally separated individuals can live separately, and are often advised to try mediation.

Contact our Portuguese lawyers for assistance on your options.

What documents are needed to file for a divorce in Portugal?

To apply for divorce in Portugal, both partners or the lawyers representing them must present a few documents, including the following:

  • A copy of the marriage certificate that is certified (certidão do registo de casamento) this must be translated into Portuguese if the marriage took place in another country.
  • A request in writing stating that the couple wish to obtain a divorce
  • The agreements made with regard to the matrimonial assets including an itemised list of the assets signed by both parties (relação especificada dos bens comuns)
  • An agreement in writing outlining the mutually agreed child arrangements or a certificate of the court’s verdict (certidão da sentença judicial) regarding child custody for children under the age of majority.
  • A written agreement regarding the payment of spousal maintenance (acordo sobre a prestação de alimentos), if there is agreement.
  • A written agreement outlining how the matrimonial home with be dealt with (acordo sobre o destino da casa de morada de família), if they own their own home.
  • A statement in writing relating the any pets owned by the couple.
  • The prenuptial agreement in writing (certidão da convenção antenupcial), if it was not presented to Registry Office

How Giambrone & Partners family lawyers can help

Our well-regarded lawyers are committed to the provision of excellence and can advise and assist on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious legal issues. Our lawyers have multilingual and multi-jurisdictional capacity, and we can ensure you understand the laws in place if you are a foreign citizen.

We will also advise you on your options, and provide expert guidance on what documents you need to prepare to get a divorce in Portugal.

Contact our Portuguese lawyers for assistance today.

Frequently asked questions

Is there an obligation to disclose the reasons for divorce?

Spouses can keep the grounds of divorce private.

Who deals with contested divorces in Portugal?

The Family Proceedings Court in Portugal oversees contested divorces.

How are assets divided following a divorce in Portugal?

How are assets divided following a divorce in Portugal?

  • A mutual arrangement if you both in agreement as to how to divide assets.
  • A court judgement if you cannot come to an agreement.