A significant number of divorces involving Portuguese nationals are decreed abroad, which is understandable taking into account the number of Portuguese living outside the country.
On the other hand, the process of acquiring Portuguese nationality often involves updating the marital status in the Portuguese register of the interested party or its parents or grandparents and/or spouse. This is often the case with Brazilians who want to acquire Portuguese citizenship.
It is therefore important to understand how such a “foreign” divorce can be transcribed in Portuguese civil registry system.
Whenever divorces decreed in EU Member Countries are concerned, they can be directly registered with the Civil Registry Office. This is the result of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November (see Art. 21).
However, in the event of divorces decreed in countries that are not members of the European Union, the procedure is different. In such cases, the recognition of the divorce not immediate or automatic, but must be preceded by recognition proceedings before the Portuguese courts.
The procedure for recognizing a foreign judgment (or decision) implies a lawsuit to be filed by a Portuguese lawyer on the Tribunal da Relação. Only afterwards will the divorce be registered in the Civil Registry.
Naturally, we offer this service to our clients.