Civil Law in Portugal

Civil Law in Portugal

Updated on Monday 08th April 2019

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Civil-Law-in-Portugal.jpgThe Portuguese Civil Code entered into force in 1967 and it replaced the one from 1868. The text of law includes five different books, each treating one different matter of civil law. The books include general provisions, the Law of Obligations, the Property law, the Family Law and the Inheritance Law. The team of experts from our law firm in Portugal can help you understand the principles of the Portuguese civil law in the context of business and commercial activities in the country.

Brief information about the Civil Code in Portugal

Throughout modern history, the Civil Code has been subject to a number of amendments and changes concerning the former overseas Portuguese territories. The 1967 Code was largely based on the German Code and had a technical approach to the definitions included therein, a definition that was also of German influence.  The evolution of the Portuguese Civil Code is similar to its evolution of this country as a state and the concern to protect civil law relations. If you would like to know more about your civil rights in Portugal, please feel free to address your inquiries to our team of lawyers in Portugal.

The Law of Obligations in Portugal 

The Portuguese Law of Obligations is a branch of the private law that regulates the duties and liabilities that may arise, on a contractual basis, between individuals. Civil obligations undertook by individuals in Portugal are enforceable in a court of law. Business owners in Portugal are concerned with the legal provisions that relate to contracts. Signing contracts with a Portuguese company or hiring employees is done by drawing up a document/contract that observes the legal provisions in this sense.  

The Property Law in Portugal

The Property Law has its separate book in the Portuguese Civil Code. It deals with all issues concerning ownership, tenancy and acquiring property in Portugal. Foreign investors in the country may be concerned with these provisions when entering the real estate business. Other matters like the Family Law, which are also included in the Civil Code, regulate issues like marriage or divorce and the Inheritance Law treats the issue of inheritance, wills and property transfer. Our team of attorneys in Portugal can help you with detailed information about the books or subsections of the Civil Code.

How is the marriage done in Portugal?

The requirements for getting married in Portugal are quite simple and start with the union of two persons of at least 18 years of age. No matter the nationality, if you are a foreigner living in Portugal and wanting to marry in this country, the Portuguese law applies:
  1. You need to apply and obtain the marriage license from the Civil Registry Office in Portugal.
  2. The marriage is permitted to a person of at least 18 years of age.
  3. The residence permit and the passport (both valid) are solicited at the marriage registration.
  4. If one of the persons got a divorce in previous years, he or she needs to present the certificate.
  5. The translation into Portuguese for such documents might be mandatory.
All the legal aspects can be explained by our attorneys in Portugal who can provide you with the needed assistance if you would like to get married in this country.

How do I get a divorce in Portugal?

A mutual agreement divorce is normally recommended in Portugal, and the Civil Registry Office is in charge of such cases. The common assets, child custody, childcare, and many other aspects can be discussed with a lawyer in Portugal, especially if you are a foreigner who got married in this country. According to the Portuguese Civil Law, any of the spouses has the right to contest the divorce procedure and make an application int his sense with the Family Proceedings Court in Portugal. This means that one of the parties might not agree with the conditions imposed, mostly related to family matters or the division of assets. In this case, the divorce procedure might prolong for a period of time, but if you would like to speed up the process, you should talk to a Portuguese lawyer and find out the legal support he/she can offer. It is important to know that before the divorce decision is made, both spouses have a reconciliation time at their disposal, where they can solve, if it is possible, the marriage problems.

What does the Inheritance Law stipulate?

The ways in which the assets can be distributed to successors in the case a deceased are stipulated by the Inheritance Law in Portugal and its principles:
  • The wife/husband and the children are the first in line to inherit the assets.
  • The estate is distributed in an equal manner to children if there is no spouse.
  • In  case there are no children and no spouse, the family relatives (brothers and sisters) are next in line.
The testament in Portugal can be made public or in private, in front of a notary and witnesses in the case of a public one, with the mention that there is no need for an executor to be involved. The necessity of an attorney in such a case is recommended, especially if you are a foreigner living and wanting to make the testament in Portugal, or if you are a non-resident who received family assets in Portugal. Feel free to talk to our legal experts and solicit complete assistance if you would like to make a will. 

FAQ about Civil Law in Portugal

1. When was the Civil Code changed in Portugal?
The new Civil Law in Portugal was introduced in 1967, replacing the one in 1868.
2. What does Civil Law comprise?
The Family Law, the Inheritance Law, the Property Law, the Family Law and the Law of Obligations are part of the Civil Code in Portugal. If you need complete legal information in this matter, our advisors can help.
3. How do I buy a property as a foreign citizen in Portugal?
A sale and acquisition agreement is the necessary contract which is signed by both parties involved in a transaction: the owner and the buyer. One should observe the real estate taxes imposed for the sale of properties in Portugal.
4.  How do I get married in Portugal?
The Civil Code in Portugal accepts the marriage of two persons of over 18 years of age, regardless of their nationality. Couples can get married to any church in Portugal, if the Civil Registry Office in Portugal issues a marriage license. Let our team tell you more if you want to get married in this country.
5. What is the Law on Obligations?
This is an important part of the Civil Code, comprising all the regulations involving contracts between persons, or companies, plus the legal requirements in these matters. All the liabilities of a contract can be explained by our advisors, no matter if it is a work contract or a business agreement.
You can contact us if you are in need of legal assistance in the country.