Divorce Procedure in Portugal

Divorce Procedure in Portugal

Updated on Thursday 03rd December 2020

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legal-services-in-portugal.jpgYour marriage may not go as smoothly as you had expected. Sometimes, there is just no other way to settle things but to end your marriage. Divorce is the dissolution of marriage through the courts or other legal processes. The divorce procedure in Portugal is available for couples who have mutually agreed to undergo it or only one of the spouses has filed for divorce. If both husband and wife consent to dissolve their marriage, the procedure is called divorce on the ground of mutual consent. If only one of the spouses seek divorce, the procedure is called litigious divorce. Our divorce lawyers in Portugal have experience in both divorce procedures.

Grounds for divorce in Portugal 

Spouses cannot just dissolve their marriage in Portugal for any reason. There are grounds provided under the Portuguese Civil Code, which is the law that governs civil matters including marriage. Under the code, spouses can go for divorce if either one of them violates their matrimonial duties and jeopardize their ability to live a normal married life.
Another reason for divorce is termed as objective grounds because the reason is independent of the fault of the spouses. One example is when both spouses have been living separately for three consecutive years. For more grounds for divorce, just approach our attorneys in Portugal.

What is a mutual agreement divorce 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 maintenance payments will be established in the presence of a lawyer and the registrar in charge of divorce procedures. It is good to know that the divorce cases involving children will have to be observed by the Public Prosecution Service in Portugal which will also verify the agreements regarding childcare. If enough protection and acceptable agreements for both partners and the children are provided, a judge may consent the mutual divorce in Portugal and make it official.

How can I contest a divorce in Portugal?

The local office of the Family Proceedings Court in Portugal is in charge of contested divorces which often appear if, after a settled divorce petition, the two parties involved cannot agree on the terms and conditions. There are cases in which one of the parents does not agree on the maintenance and child custody, therefore, they are entitled to contest the divorce in no more than 30 days. The next step is to schedule a divorce hearing with the help of your Portuguese lawyer and evidence for your case must be provided. In most situations of contested divorces, a judge will establish the verdict within 30 days.

Do I need to change the name after a divorce?

Women have the possibility of changing the surname or keep it, as they want, as long as this decision is made during the divorce procedure in Portugal. A series of legal aspects can be entirely explained by our divorce lawyers in Portugal.

Where to file for divorce in Portugal

For litigious divorce in Portugal, the entity that has jurisdiction over the case is the family court. The case is initiated by filing a petition for litigious divorce with the family court. The case is a special proceeding. The family court judge will be the one to decide the case and give a divorce decree. The petition must include a ground for divorce as provided for the Portuguese Civil Code. There are a few requirements to consider when filing for divorce in Portugal:
  • for divorce where there is mutual consent by the parties, the authority in charge of such cases is the Civil Registry Office;
  • both spouses must file a petition in the Civil Registry Office containing therein a list of their common properties, agreement about the custody of their children, and who will be in charge of the family home;
  • spouses are not obliged to disclose the specific reason for their decision to end their marriage;
  • for divorce by mutual consent of the parties in Portugal, the director of the Civil Registry Office will meet both spouses and attempt to reconcile them and save their marriage. Our law firm in Portugal is familiar with both types of divorce.

The distribution of assets in a divorce process in Portugal

The common assets in a marriage are normally distributed in a divorce process and there are two distinct ways to do so: with the help of an agreement or in the court of law. There are couples who discuss such aspects before getting married. This is where a prenuptial agreement enters the discussion. In the case of children in marriage, the court of law will decide in the best interest of the little ones and will issue a decision regarding financial support, education, home, etc. We can represent persons who want to get a divorce in Portugal, so please feel free to discuss with our Portuguese lawyers.

What is legal separation in Portugal?

Legal separation is the alternative to divorce in Portugal. Such separation removes the cohabitation responsibility, yet it can be upgraded to the divorce process that involves other legal stages. It is worth mentioning that if one of the spouses receives a petition saying the separation can turn into a divorce, he or she can respond or appeal within 15 days. Our lawyers in Portugal can tell you more about the legal separation and can represent you in the court of law for the divorce process.

Mediation before divorce in Portugal

A professional family mediator is allocated to spouses who intend to divorce. Specific meetings will be conducted, with the intention of looking for a resolution instead of a divorce. However, if mediation does not help, then spouses will have to continue with the legal separation or divorce. In any case, you can discuss this with one of our attorneys in Portugal and solicit legal assistance.

The annulment of a marriage in Portugal

A marriage can be annulled in Portugal due to varied reasons. Forced marriage, spouses who are too young, or couples who got married without witnesses can solicit the marriage annulment. The legal support for marriage annulment can be offered by one of our lawyers in Portugal. We can represent both Portuguese nationals and foreigners who want to get a divorce.

FAQ about divorce in Portugal

1. What are the grounds for divorce in Portugal?
According to the Civil Code in Portugal, the divorce can take place if the spouses no longer live together, do not share the marriage responsibilities, or if infidelity grounds are involved. These are a few of the reasons that stand at the base of a divorce.
2. Can a mutual agreement be solicited in Portugal?
Yes, a mutual agreement can enter the discussion when it comes to divorce. Such an agreement is signed by both spouses who accept the terms of assets distribution, child custody, and support.
3. Where do I file for divorce in Portugal?
The family court takes litigious divorce cases in Portugal. One of our lawyers in Portugal can offer legal assistance and guidance for persons who want to get a divorce. 
4. Are spouses obliged to disclose the reasons for divorce?
No, there is no such obligation. Spouses can keep the grounds of divorce for themselves. Ending a marriage is the decision of a couple who can keep these aspects private.
5. Is mediation provided to couples who want to divorce in Portugal?
Yes, mediation sessions are offered to couples who intend to divorce in Portugal. However, if this kind of support doesn’t help a couple cancel the idea of separation then they can continue with the divorce.
6. Can a marriage be annulled in Portugal?
Yes, a marriage can be annulled if spouses were minors, if they got married without witnesses or if a forced marriage took place.
7. Do women need to change the name after divorce?
Women are not obliged to change their name. Such an aspect needs to be mentioned from the beginning.
8. Is legal separation the same thing as divorce?
No, legal separation is different from divorce. The spouses can live separately and can consider mediation.
9. Can a divorce be contested?
Yes, the Family Proceedings Court in Portugal handles the contested divorces.
10. Do I need a lawyer for a divorce in Portugal?
Yes, you need to be represented by a divorce lawyer in Portugal who knows the legislation.
Here are some facts and figures about marriage and divorce in Portugal:
  1. According to statistics for 2018, there were around 34,600 marriages registered in Portugal.
  2. Around 68% of the marriages represented the first one for the couples in 2018.
  3. 17.3 was the average length of marriage in Portugal in the same year.
  4. About 20,300 divorce cases were registered in Portugal in 2019, according to
  5. 61,4% was the divorce rate per 100 marriages in Portugal in 2019.
If your decision to have a divorce is final, let our divorce lawyers in Portugal assist you in getting a decree for divorce from the proper authorities. Please contact us at any time for complete legal support.