What are the legal grounds for divorce in Portugal?

Getting a divorce can be a difficult experience, particularly if you are getting a divorce abroad and don’t have a good understanding of the grounds for divorce in that country. If you are getting a divorce in Portugal – understanding the laws in place and what is required can make the process more straightforward. Additionally, working with a multilingual Portuguese law firm can be invaluable and can help to prevent any complex legal issues from arising.

Here, we discuss the legal grounds for divorce in Portugal, and explain how a Portuguese multilingual law firm specialising in family law can assist you in getting a divorce.

Click on the links below to jump to that section:

Read more about the grounds for divorce in Portugal.

Find out more about the different grounds for getting a divorce in Portugal.

We answer common queries on the legal grounds for getting divorced in Portugal.

Where does Portugal stand when it comes to divorce laws?

The right to divorce in Portugal came with the proclamation of the First Republic in 1910. An agreement with the Vatican Church prohibited divorce for all Catholic weddings only thirty years later. In 1975, following the Carnation Revolution, this right was finally restored. Today, there are a similar number of divorces following civil and Catholic weddings.

When it comes to LGBT rights and divorce, Portugal is also currently considered one of the world’s top countries in protecting and advancing LGBT rights.

The grounds for divorce today are provided under the Portuguese Civil Code, which is the law that governs civil matters including marriage. If you wish to get a divorce in Portugal – it is important to be aware of the grounds for divorce and what is required in order to get a divorce.

Contact us today to find out more about your options for getting a divorce in Portugal.

Can foreign citizens get married in Portugal?

Foreign citizens from non-EU countries

Portuguese law allows the divorce of foreign citizens in Portugal, provided that at least one of the spouses is resident in Portugal. This is the case even if the marriage was celebrated in another country. These foreign citizens can get a divorce in Portugal even if their spouse still resides abroad.

Foreign citizens from EU countries

Foreigners from European Union countries can divorce in Portugal if this is the place of their usual residence or if it was the place of the last common residence. This rule applies as long as one spouse continues to be a resident of Portugal.

Read our complete guide to getting a divorce in Portugal here.

What are the grounds for divorce in Portugal?

Divorce with the consent of both spouses may be granted at a Civil Registry Office. For this, you will need to be in agreement of the following factors:

  • Agreement regarding the use of family home
  • Agreement on child custody and child maintenance
  • Agreement on spousal maintenance
  • Agreement regarding pet animals
  • List of common assets.

Cases where one partner violates their matrimonial duties

Under the Portuguese Civil Code, spouses can apply for divorce if either one of them violates their matrimonial duties and jeopardises their ability to live a normal married life.

Objective grounds for divorce

Objective grounds for divorce apply when the reason for getting a divorce is independent of the fault of the spouses. For example, if one spouse has struggled with mental disability that has impacted the relationship for over a year. Both spouses may also have been split for a full calendar year, or may have been living separately for three consecutive years.

Additionally, other grounds for divorce include other factors such as infidelity, that prove the relationship between both partners has broken down.

Do you require consent of your partner when applying for divorce in Portugal?

The consent of your partner isn’t essential when you are applying for a divorce. However, you can expect the process to go much more smoothly if both parties are in agreement on getting the divorce.

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

Who observes divorce cases involving children?

Divorce cases involving children are observed by the Public Prosecution Service in Portugal which will also verify the agreements regarding childcare.

Can you contest a divorce in Portugal?

Yes, divorces in Portugal can be contested, and the Family Proceedings Court in Portugal handles the contested divorces. You can contest a divorce if you and your partner cannot agree on the terms and conditions surrounding a divorce.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Portugal?

This depends on the nature of your divorce. A contested divorce is often a more drawn-out procedure, and often takes place in a courtroom. On the other hand, divorcing by mutual arrangement is the fastest and most convenient option. If both parties agree on an amicable divorce, it may only take one to two months to process this.

The length of time it takes to get a divorce also depends on whether there are any children involved. The Portuguese authorities take cases involving children extremely seriously, and there are a number of laws in place to ensure terms and conditions of a divorce have the best interest of the child in mind.

How Giambrone & Partners can help

Our well-regarded Portuguese family 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 when getting a divorce in Portugal.

Contact our Portuguese lawyers for assistance today.

Frequently asked questions

Can you live separately without getting divorced in Portugal?

It is possible for couples to start living separate lives long before they complete the divorce papers or finish a divorce process in the Courts. During that period, they are classed as being separated but not yet divorced.

Can a mutual agreement be solicited in Portugal?

The Civil Registry Office in Portugal is in charge of the mutual agreement divorce applications. In this matter, the child custody, the common expenses, and other factors, will be established in the presence of a lawyer and the registrar in charge of divorce procedures.

What are the different types of divorce in Portugal?

The different types of divorce include:

  • Divorce by mutual consent through a Civil Registry Office: this is when both parties agree on ending the marriage and issues regarding childcare, spousal maintenance, and assets division. You will require a listing of your foreclosed home and specifics of an agreement on custody of any children, maintenance payments, and how any land will be divided. It is not essential to disclose your motives for applying.
  • By mutual consent in court: this occurs if both people agree to end the marriage, but not the divorce conditions attached to it.
  • Without the consent of one spouse: this is when only one party agrees with ending the marriage. This is often a lengthy, complex process, involving a court hearing.

Related content





How to set up a business in Portugal