Family Law in Portugal

Family Law in Portugal

Updated on Tuesday 09th July 2019

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Family-Law-in-Portugal .jpgThe principles of Family Law in Portugal are included in the Constitution and the Civil Code. Special family courts activate in the country, mentioning that residents and non-residents may solve their family cases by requesting the legal advice and support of a lawyer in Portugal or by resorting to alternative dispute resolution methods. The team at our law firm in Portugal can help you with legal representation and advice in all cases concerning family matters.

Constitutional family rights in Portugal

The Constitution of Portugal allows for equal rights to form a family and to conclude a marriage. The husband and the wife are given equal rights in the education and care of their child and the family has primary rights in educational matters. According to the laws in Portugal, both parents have the rights to solicit maternity and paternity periods as employees in Portugal. There is no discrimination between children born in a family with married parents and those born as non-marital children.
International marriage and divorce are possible in Portugal and the spouses will be subject to the Portuguese marriage and/or civil partnership principles. The needs and rights of the children born in Portugal after a marriage in the country will be as per the Constitutional rights. One of our attorneys in Portugal can give you detailed information on the conditions for marriage and divorce but also on co-habitation between partners, as civil partnerships are recognized in the country.

Civil family rights in Portugal

In Portugal, the Family Law is based on civil law case and on the respective Books in the Civil Code. The capacity to marry and to conclude valid marriages is defined in the Family Law. Non-residents may also get married in Portugal, if they fulfill the basic rules for concluding a valid marriage contract, including for persons over 16 years of age, not suffering from serious and/or incapacitating mental disease and not be already married. Premarital agreements are enforceable in Portugal. There are three main courts in the country that deal with family law matters, including the Family Tribunal and the Minor’s Tribunal. Family law cases are brought before the ordinary courts, specialized in family law cases, which also benefit from the assistance of social workers. Divorce cases in Portugal are brought before the highest courts in the country, located in Lisbon, Porto, Faro, and other cities. Individuals may request the help of a team of lawyers in Portugal for assistance in all family cases. In some situations, the issues are solved and negotiated outside of court.

Marriage in Portugal - what you need to know

Foreign citizens in Portugal must observe the conditions for getting married in this country, among which, the marriage license. This kind of document is issued by the Civil Registry in Portugal through the local offices. It is necessary to ask for legal advice when preparing the needed documents:
  1. Foreigners wanting to get married in Portugal need to complete forms MP1 and MP2.
  2. The certificate of no impediment for getting married in Portugal is solicited.
  3. The Consulate or Embassy in Portugal accept the payment of fees for marriage registration.
  4. The divorce certificate is needed, if one of the citizens have been previously married.
  5. The resident permits and the valid passport must be provided when marrying in Portugal.
There are no complicated requirements in terms of documents for getting married in Portugal, however, it is best to ask for legal advice and support in this matter. For instance, there are rules for Catholic citizens in Portugal who must provide a letter for the community bishop, the prenuptial inquiry form from the country of origin, the PRE CANA letter, a document showing you can get married in a Catholic church in Portugal. Let our team of lawyers in Portugal provide immediate legal assistance if you want to get married in Portugal.

Same-sex marriage in Portugal

The Family Law in Portugal also provides information about the same-sex marriage which is totally allowed. Just like Luxembourg, Austria, Argentina, Malta, Spain, Sweden, France, Ireland, Canada, Estonia, Belgium, Australia, Norway, Israel, the Netherlands or Mexico, Portugal allows the marriage between two partners of the same sex. This means that married couples of the same sex enjoy equal rights and benefits just like any heterosexual couple in terms of property purchase, employee benefits, medical leave, family leave, tax benefits, etc. It is important to know that there might be some complications in cases of child adoption for such couples, but the legislation is directed towards the best interest of children. As for discrimination at work, it is good to know that employers are not allowed to fire someone based on the sexual orientation. If you would like to know more about these aspects, do not hesitate to talk to our team of attorneys in Portugal.

How do I get the divorce in Portugal?

The mutual agreement divorce is often the ideal solution for persons wanting to get a divorce in Portugal. This is a case where our Portuguese lawyers can provide immediate legal advice and support in terms of child custody, childcare, common expenses, payments and division of assets. The following aspects regarding the divorce in Portugal should be attentively measured:
  • the Family Court accepts and deals with the divorce procedures in Portugal;
  • the Family Proceedings Court in Portugal is in charge of contested divorce cases;
  • spouses getting a divorce in Portugal won’t need to reveal the reasons for separation;
  • reconciliation is the first step made at the Civil Registry Office when asking for mutual agreement divorce.
The Family Court in Portugal is in charge of litigious divorce cases, in agreement with the Civil Law that mentions a couple can get a divorce if spouses no longer consider the importance of matrimonial duties and therefore cannot have a normal life as before. Complete legal assistance is offered by our attorney in Portugal if you want to  get a divorce in Portugal.

Children and the Family Law in Portugal

According to the Family Law in Portugal, minors under 18 years of age are in the custody of parents or legal tutors. More than that, the cases of child abduction are treated seriously by the authorities in Portugal, and persons found guilty of such crimes can face up to 2 years of imprisonment. The Family Law in Portugal protects the children and their rights in this country, or anywhere in the world. In addition, the authorities act in the best interest of minors coming from problematic families where abuse and sexual violence make victims. Here are some facts about families in Portugal:
  • there are around 2 divorce cases/1000 residents in Portugal, according to statistics for 2018;
  • there are proximately 3 marriages/1000 residents in Portugal;
  • 50% is the rate of births from unmarried couples in Portugal;
  • according to statistics, couples in Portugal are married for approximately 15 years.
As for the average marriage cases in Europe, there are approximately 4 couples/ 1000 residence getting married, no matter their nationality. 
You can contact our law firm in Portugal for more information on family law matters and legal aid.