By Jose Santiago
March 29, 2010
In Brazil, a divorce can only be filed after one year of the Judgment or the Public Deed of Separaão” or Separation of the couple, meaning only once the couple has been legally separated for more than one year can the parties file. In some cases if the couple can prove that they have been living apart from more than two (2) years consecutively they can get automatically divorced, without having to be first separated.
While separated, the parties cannot legally marry again in any state nor in any country, otherwise the Brazilian Courts can impose sanctions on the parties.
Before January 5, 2007 in order to get separated or divorced a couple was always required to hire an attorney and go to the Court System which has always been very bureaucratic and slow, this was mandatory even if it was amicable. However, since then, the Law Number 11.441/2007 created a much cheaper and faster solution, an extra-judicial separation or divorce, meaning the parties do not have to file a lawsuit and go throughout the Judicial process. Nonetheless, the parties must still hire at least one common attorney, which, in this case, is called the Single Intervenient Attorney.
This is how it works: if the couple has no minor nor incapable offspring and has agreed in the dissolution of their marriage and its terms (settlement), you can hire a single or common attorney and a public notary who will act together and execute a Public Deed of Separation or Divorce, which can be achieved in a few days only.
For foreign nationals that live outside Brazil, there is an even better option, you can get your Separation or Divorce through a Power of Attorney. I have already worked in several Separations via Power of Attorney, in other words, parties do not have to be present in Brazil for their Separation nor their Divorce in such cases. Basically they only must retain a single attorney, issue Power of Attorneys, and share all the related costs.
Please note that Congress is currently working on a new law which will end the waiting period to get a divorce, and also end the separation procedure once for all, which will allow couples to get their divorce directly.
Jose C. Santiago
Attorney at Law
DISCLOSURE: All information herein given is merely for elucidative purposes. It reflects current Legislation, which can be modified in the future. In case of questions regarding a particular case/issue, always consult with your own attorney.
Previous articles by Jose:
Brazil: Advantages and Disadvantages of Importing a Vehicle to Brazil
Changes to Investment Visa Law
How Foreign Individuals Can Invest in the Brazilian Stock Market
Non-Resident Bank Accounts for Foreigners in Brazil
Brazil: General Guidelines for Foreigners who Intend to Open a Brazilian Corporation
Brazil: Myths and Facts Regarding the Investment Visa Program
Brazil: The Importance of a Title Search When Buying Real Estate
Brazil: Restrictions for Foreigners When Buying Rural Properties
Brazil: Having a Child Abroad for US Citizens
Careful When Buying Pre-Construction Properties in Brazil!
Understanding Brazil: Sending Money Home from a Real Estate Deal
The Closing Process in Brazil
Permanent Visas in Brazil
Brazil: International Money Transfers
Brazil: Squatters Rights (Usucapião) – Be Aware!
Brazil: Annual Procedures to Keep Your CPF Number Valid
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 3
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 2
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 1
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 4
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 3
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 2
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 1
8 Reasons to Invest in Brazil’s Real Estate
The Brazilian Resident Investor Program for Foreigners
Brazil: Annual Required Procedures to Keep Your CPF Number
Legal Aspects of Acquiring Real Estate in Brazil