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Divorce in Brazil

Updated on Tuesday 05th October 2021

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Divorce in Brazil.jpgAre you looking to separate from your spouse? Our team of divorce lawyers in Brazil can help you throughout the divorce procedures and can help represent you in court in matters related to the distribution of assets or inheritance. We are also able to help those couples who are dealing with children issues and need to establish custody as well as alimony after the separation.
 
Our law firm in Brazil specializes in many areas of law including Family Law. We understand that going through a divorce can be challenging, this is why our attorneys strive to help our clients find effective legal solutions and, when possible, avoid going to Court. 
 
In this article, we answer some of the most common questions regarding divorce in Brazil and briefly touch upon the issue of expats married to Brazilian nationals or vice versa. For more detailed information or for personalized assistance, please feel free to reach out to our attorneys in Brazil. You can also receive legal advice on immigration to Brazil
 

What are the laws governing divorce in Brazil?

 
The Civil Procedure Code governs most of the issues related to the dissolution of a marriage. Other relevant information is included in the Civil Code as well as in the Federal Constitution. 
 
While marriages concluded outside of the country are recognized in Brazil, individuals should keep in mind that divorce is not treated in the same manner. A solution is to apply for divorce in the country or go through the legal procedures that would homologize the foreign judgment on the dissolution of the marriage. If you are in this situation, one of our lawyers in Brazil can help you.
 

What are the grounds for divorce and who can apply for one?

 
Some of the most common grounds for divorce in Brazil are the following:
 
  • Irretrievable marriage: the two spouses conclude that their union is no longer salvageable;
  • Adultery: when one or both spouses have had extra conjugal relations, this can be a contentious ground for divorce as the other party may have to admit fault;
  • Desertion: when one of the spouses has left the other without a certain reason and the two have been living apart for a number of years; the deserted spouse can file for divorce in Brazil;
  • Violence: included here are physical or sexual violence of the spouse or the children.
 
Spouses should keep in mind that these are general grounds for divorce. Our Brazil lawyers can provide you with more details and help you start the divorce procedures based on your own particular situation.
 
There is no specific need for both spouses to agree to divorce in Brazil. Only one of them can apply for divorce and then will serve the divorce papers to the other party. We recommend reaching out to our Brazilian lawyers in this case so that you may follow through with all of the legal requirements for submitting the documents and commencing the procedure.
 

Types of child custody in Brazil after divorce

 
In case of divorce in Brazil or dissolution of relation, the spouses or partners have the following options to take care of children as per family law:
 
  • Sole custody: in child custody cases where both parents do not come to the common terms, the court gives the decision favoring the spouse who is more suitable regarding parenting. According to the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (IBGE), Brazil's family courts usually provide custody to the mothers. Out of 92.9% cases of sole custody cases registered in 2011, only 5.3% of fathers were awarded with the custody of children, and the rest of the decisions favored mothers. The parent with the material custody of the child is responsible for allowing the other parent to meet with his/her child;
  • Alternating custody: in this type of custody, both partners take care of a child on an alternative basis. Both hold the title of custodian, and the child spends equal and predetermined periods with mother and father;
  • Physical custody: when the couple or the court decides physical custody, the minor stays with both parents, maybe weekdays with mother and weekends with father;
  • Guardian: if the child does not stay with the mother or father, the court will decide for a guardian to take care of the minor. Any relative who is an aunt, uncle, a grandparent can act as a guardian. The court will decide by considering the lifestyles of these guardians, such as their parenting capabilities and financial situations.
Our lawyers can provide you with legal assistance in the matter of getting a divorce in Brazil and divorces become harder to get if child custody issues come along. But our experienced lawyers in Brazil can help you in this regard. They will provide you a comprehensive guide regarding how to get divorced in Brazil.
 

What does Brazilian Civil Code say about child custody?

 
The Article 1.630 of the Brazilian Civil Code says that children are subject to "family power". Article 1.631 and 1.634 extend that this "family power" is exercised by both parents independent of their marital status. The exercise of this power includes upbringing children, education, granting or denying consent to travel abroad, restricting children from relocation, granting or denying consent for them to marry, etc, until they reach to the age of 16. The Article 1.633 of the Civil Code says the child will remain under the mother's custody if the minor’s father does not recognize him/her legally. If the mother is also unknown, the child's custody will go to the guardian because The Child and Adolescent Statute (Law 8.069/1990) ensures the rights of minors. Rights and duties come into action when the parents and children have a legal bond. So, to exercise "family power", the minor's birth certificate must include the father’s name. Article 1.362 of the Brazilian Civil Code establishes equality amid partners or spouses in the exercise of the "family power", and divorce or dissolution of relationship among them shall not cause any impact on child-parent relationship. The Article 227 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution makes sure that the minor is receiving basic necessities such as health, education, freedom etc. If one has physical custody of the child, the other parent will be obliged to provide the financial support established by the family court.
 
If you are going through the procedure of divorce in Brazil, which also involves the matter of child custody, you can trust the legal services of our lawyers. The skilled lawyers at our law firm in Brazil will also provide you with legal assistance in child custody related matters.
 

Can a parent relocate a child internationally?

 
It is understood that in some cases, after divorce, the parent who gets the material custody of the child wants to relocate regionally/internationally along with the child. Both divorced parties must make such decisions mutually, but if both the parties do not reach to a common conclusion, the custodial parent may request the court for permission to relocate. Our litigation attorneys in Brazil can help you if you cannot make a decision with your partner and want to obtain court permission for relocation. The legal assistance of our attorneys may help you acquire court permission in this matter because the court permits relocation by considering the child's best interests.
 
The Brazilian law does not restrict international relocation unless it is intended to keep the other parent away from the child. But if the intention of keeping the child away from the left-behind parent is proved, the custodial parent becomes subject to penalties under the Parental Alienation Law. You can file a case with the legal assistance of our lawyers in Brazil if your child has been relocated from you with an unfair motive.
 
If you need more information regarding how to get divorced in Brazil, get in touch with our lawyers. The experienced lawyers at our law firm in Brazil can help you in the process of filing and obtaining a divorce.
 

How can a team of Brazilian lawyers help me?

 
Our lawyers can help you during the entire divorce process and will help you determine the optimal solutions for you and your former spouse in terms of asset distribution and alimony if children are involved. 
 
We will help you prepare, translate, and legalize the documents as needed, fill in the divorce application, and submit it with the Brazilian authorities. Moreover, we can help with legal representation to make sure that the assets acquired during the marriage are distributed according to the law (in most cases this is a division in a proportion of 50% to each of the spouses).
 
The costs of divorce in Brazil may vary and so does the duration of the procedures. We recommend reaching out to our law firm in Brazil for complete assistance during the process as well as an estimate of the timeline. 
 

Divorce rate in Brazil

 
Divorce rates have increased in Brazil particularly since the procedure has been simplified, especially for couples with no children. According to the Brazilian Statistical Institute, data from a few years ago regarding divorce in Brazil reveals the following:
 
  • in 2011 the number of divorces was 351,153;
  • this was a 46.6% increase compared to 2010 when the number of divorces was 243,224;
  • according to data from the Civil Register, the divorce rate in the country increased from 1,2 to 1,3% per 1,000 inhabitants between the years 2004 and 2005;
  • in 2017 the average length of a marriage was of 17 years; in 2017 the estimated average fell to only 14 years;
  • data for same-sex marriages shows that despite the fact that there was a reduction in the total number of marriages between 2017 and 2018, this type of union increased by 61.7% during the same year (from 5,887 to 9,520); most of the same-sex unions were between women (58.4%).
 
If you are in need of assistance during divorce in Brazil we can help you. Contact us for more information and professional legal advice.