Can you divorce in Portugal if you are not a Portuguese national?

Portugal has one of the highest divorce rates in Europe per 100 marriages; in 2020, 91.5 out of 100 marriages ended in divorce. If are not a Portuguese national but are married and living in the country, it is important that you understand your rights should you decide to divorce through Portuguese courts.

This guide explores obtaining a divorce in Portugal if you are a British national and the importance of instructing an international and multilingual lawyer.

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Find out the different reasons that a divorce may proceed in Portugal.

The different considerations you review if you are seeking a Portuguese divorce.

How you can obtain a divorce despite not being a Portuguese national.

The steps to take if your Portuguese visa was granted due to your marriage to a Portuguese national.

Giambrone & Partners services, and how we can help you.

Read some of the most frequently asked questions regarding divorcing in Portugal.

What are the grounds for divorce in Portugal?

In Portugal, a couple can file for divorce at any time following their marriage. This process can either be by mutual consent through the Civil Registry Office, where there is no need for any grounds, or through the Portuguese courts.

Wife And Husband Signing Divorce

In a contested divorce a court hearing will be held. The spouse who has filed for divorce will need to present one of the following grounds:

  • The couple has been separated for at least one year.
  • If one spouse has poor mental health which has impacted the relationship.
  • Desertion by one spouse for a period of one year
  • Irretrievable breakdown for any reason.

When seeking a divorce in Portugal you should instruct multilingual Portuguese lawyers (Advogados), who speak English, if you do not speak Portuguese.

Considerations if you are seeking an international divorce

If you were married outside of your country of origin to somebody of a different nationality, there may be issues you need to address when the marriage ends in divorce. Before filing any divorce proceedings, it is important to consider certain factors:

Where the marriage is legally recognised.

Different counties will have different laws in relation to divorce and family law. For example, in Portugal, same-sex marriage became legal in 2010, therefore, all couples have the same rights when it comes to seeking a divorce. There are countries, such as Russia, where same-sex marriage is not recognised.

In order to divorce, the marriage must have been legally recognised in the country. International lawyers, who are qualified in a range of jurisdictions, will be able to assist.

Contact Giambrone & Partners today to see how we can help you with family law.

Have a connection to the country.

In Portugal, a divorce can proceed if not all the parties are Portuguese. If the couple resides or did reside primarily in Portugal, only one spouse needs to be a Portuguese citizen.

Portugal, Douro River

Find out information on the ways to become a Portuguese citizen here.

Finding a multilingual and international lawyer.

Whether you are a Portuguese citizen or a foreign national, it is important to instruct a lawyer who is qualified under Portuguese law (Advogados) and also speaks English. This will improve communication between yourself and the Portuguese court, especially if you do not speak Portuguese.

Giambrone & Partners has an office in Porto that assists both commercial and private clients.

Contact us today to see how we can help you obtain a divorce.

Can I get divorced in Portugal if I am not a national?

Regardless of whether the marriage was enacted in another country, or if one spouse does not reside in Portugal, non-Portuguese nationals married to a Portuguese citizen can seek a divorce through its courts with sufficient connection to Portugal. However, at least one of the spouses must be a Portuguese resident. Even if the Portuguese spouse does not reside in the country, foreign nationals (such as British citizens) can still seek a divorce in Portugal under Portuguese divorce and family law.

Find out more about cross-border divorce at the Giambrone & Partners website.

What should you do if your Portuguese visa depends on your marriage?

In certain cases, marriage to a Portuguese national is the connection that permits a foreign national to obtain Portuguese citizenship. After three years of continuous marriage, an individual can apply to become a Portuguese citizen. However, once the marriage ends, so does the Portuguese spouse visa.

In this event, foreign nationals still may have the opportunity to obtain Portuguese citizenship and remain in the country.

If you have lived in Portugal for less than five years.

A foreign national who has lived in Portugal for less than five years can apply for a work visa, or a visto de Trabalho. However, proof of qualifications will be required, and a reputable company will have to sponsor your application.

If you have lived in Portugal for five years or more.

After a divorce, foreign nationals, who may have moved to Portugal for their marriage, can apply for a long-term resident visa (or an estatuto de residente de longa duração) following residence in Portugal for five years or more.

Find out more information on how to become a Portuguese citizen here.

To achieve Portuguese citizenship, you must instruct international and multilingual lawyers qualified in Portugal to help with this process.

How Giambrone & Partners can help

Giambrone & Partners is an international law firm that operates in various countries around the world, including Spain, England & Wales, Italy, and Portugal. We have well-established family law departments in each country and can help with all aspects of divorce, including financial arrangements and child proceedings.

Our family lawyers at Giambrone & Partners will support and offer advice throughout the entire divorce proceedings.

Contact us today to see how our international lawyers can help.

Frequently asked questions

Do you have to divorce in the country you married in?

If you are seeking a divorce, you do not have to go through the courts where the marriage was legalised if you are living in a different country. To obtain a divorce in a country, you or your spouse will need to be connected in some way, either by residency or citizenship.

Contact Giambrone & Partners today to find out your right to divorce in Portugal.

Do you need a certificate of marital status in Portugal?

To apply for a divorce in Portugal, you must present certain documents to the Civil Registry Office, including a certified copy of the marriage certificate (or the certidão do registo de casamento). If this is in a different language, it must be translated into Portuguese.

Giambrone & Partners are multilingual, multijurisdictional lawyers who speak English, Spanish and Portuguese. We can help you supply the correct documentation during divorce proceedings.

Discover more information about our international family law services at our website.

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