The Brazilian citizen who lives abroad still has rights and duties, such as the duty to communicate some acts of civil life, for example, divorce. For Brazilians who live abroad there are two options: divorce can be done in Brazil or abroad. We will now answer the most frequent questions about the subject.
I live abroad. Do I need to go to Brazil to get my divorce? No. Brazilian residents anywhere in the world can legalize their divorce in Brazil. It is not necessary to go to Brazil to file for divorce. It is possible to hire a reliable Brazilian lawyer to file the case. Once the legal requirements have been met and the necessary documents have been gathered, there is no obstacle to divorce in Brazil.
Can I get a divorce at my place of residence abroad? Yes, if the Brazilian citizen prefers to get the divorce in the place where he resides (abroad) it is possible to do so. However, once the divorce has been decreed abroad, it will only take effect in Brazil after the Brazilian authorities have been informed. There are two ways to achieve "recognition" of divorce. In particular, there is the registration of divorce at a notary's office and homologation of a foreign sentence before the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ).
When the divorce is consensual, the one in which both (you and the ex-wife/husband) are in agreement with the end of the marriage, and there are no assets to be shared or custody decision of minor children and child support, it is possible to register the divorce in the Brazilian registry offices of Civil Registry. Once the registration is completed, the notary will issue a Brazilian divorce certificate with your divorce noted on the document. The direct registration does not depend on the homologation of the SCJ, nor on the manifestation of any other Brazilian judicial authority. It should be noted that, in this case, the assistance of a lawyer or public defender is not necessary.
On the other hand, the Homologation of Foreign Judgment is a judicial process under the jurisdiction of the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ), through which the interested party seeks to recognize and give effect to an act coming from a foreign authority in Brazil. This will happen when the divorce is litigious, the one that the parties (you and former wife/husband) were not in agreement with all the points of your divorce or had to share property or was set custody of minor children or child support.
Can I ratify the foreign judgment without the representation of a lawyer?
No. The homologation of a foreign divorce decision requires representation by a lawyer duly registered with the Brazilian Bar Association. Once the homologation of the divorce at the SCJ is concluded, it must be registered at the Brazilian Civil Registry Office, which will then issue a certificate of divorce in Brazil with the registration of the divorce.
Is the "permission" or consent of the other party required? No. The recognition of divorce in Brazil does not require the consent of the other party. However, it will be necessary to cite the other party, and if the parties have a friendly relationship, it is advisable to present the citation letter duly signed by the other party, in order to promote the speed of the process.
Can I register my divorce at the consulate?
No. Consulates cannot register for divorce. In the case of Brazilians who have divorced abroad, a new marriage can only be registered at the Consulate after the recognition of the divorce with the Brazilian authorities either through the registration or the homologation of the foreign decision.
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Author: Dr. Ingls Aguiar
Immigration lawyer in Brazil & Portugal
Legal consultant in New York.