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Homologation of Foreign Divorces in Brazil

There are more than 750,000 divorces in the United States every year. If you were one of them or went through a divorce in another country, you may need to go through a legal process to have it validated in Brazil.

Brazilian courts will recognize foreign divorces, but you have to go through a specific process to make it happen. We’ve put together this article to outline that process and help you learn more about the topic. Let’s get started.

Need a Portuguese for you to share with your spouse or former spouse? Read here our Homologação de Divórcio Estrangeiro no Brasil.

Why Recognize a Foreign Divorce in Brazil?

First, you may be wondering whether you actually need to have your foreign divorce recognized in Brazil at all. The answer may depend on your situation.

If you don’t have your foreign divorce recognized in Brazil, then you may still be considered legally married in the country. This could create a situation in which you owe money to a former spouse or aren’t able to remarry when you meet someone new.

If you plan on being in Brazil permanently or for at least a while, then having the divorce recognized in the country is for the best. You might as well take care of it now so that you don’t have to rush to get it done as soon as possible when something comes up that requires it in the future.

Foreign Divorce in Brazil?
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(214) 432-8100

#1  Contact us to get a free quote, or
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How Do You Recognize a Foreign Divorce in Brazil?

Brazil has a set of rules that lay out the steps that need to be taken in order to validate a foreign sentence within the country. Those used to apply for divorces, as well.

But a recent rule makes a distinction between consensual divorces and non-consensual divorces. It also outlines the differences between a standard consensual divorce and a “qualified consensual divorce”.

We’ll distinguish these for you below.

Consensual vs. Nonconsensual Divorce Requirements

Brazillian law distinguishes between divorces that are consensual and those that are nonconsensual.

A consensual divorce is one in which both parties peacefully agreed to the divorce. As long as there are no complicating factors (we’ll detail these in the next section) a consensual divorce is immediately applicable in Brazil – regardless of any ruling in the country.

But if the divorce is not consensual, then the party who wishes to dissolve the marriage may need to go through the standard foreign sentence validation process in order to have the divorce official recognized in Brazil.

Standard vs. Qualified Consensual Divorces

Even if the divorce was consensual, you may still need to go through the foreign sentence validation process if you have what’s called a “qualified consensual divorce”.

This term is used to describe consensual divorces that have complicating factors, such as child custody issues, property splitting, and other asset separation problems. In these cases, you still need to go through the foreign sentence validation process to have a ruling in another country apply to your life in Brazil.

What is the Brazilian authority responsible for the recognition of foreign divorces?

In the words of the STJ (Superior Court of Justice) itself:

“The recognition procedure is governed by Articles 216-A to 216-X of the Internal Rules of the Superior Court of Justice (RISTJ), introduced by Amendment R​egimental 18.

The recognition action, which requires the payment of fees, is filed by electronic petition signed by a lawyer and addressed to the President of the STJ.

The requirements for the recognition of a foreign decision are provided for in Article 963 of the Brazilian Civil Procedure Code (CPC) and in Articles 216-C and 216-D of the Internal Rules of the STJ.

The petitioner is allowed to submit the consent of the other party, which expedites the process since it may waive the citation of the defendant. If it is not submitted, the President of the STJ will order the opposing party to be served by rogatory letter (if the party to be served resides abroad) or by a letter of request (if they reside in Brazil) to respond to the action.

Foreign Divorce in Brazil?
We Can Help You

[email protected]
(214) 432-8100

#1  Contact us to get a free quote, or
#2 Schedule a Consultation now.

Oliveira Lawyers Makes it Easier to Have Foreign Divorces Recognized, Homologated, and Enforced in Brazil

Validating a foreign divorce in Brazil doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. If you have the right team on your side, you can get this done with minimal effort on your end.

That’s where Oliveira Lawyers comes in. We can take care of every step of the foreign divorce recognition process so that you don’t have to disrupt your life to complete this.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help.

Frequent Questions

What is the recognition of foreign divorce in Brazil?

The recognition of foreign divorce is the legal process that allows the acknowledgment and validation of a divorce obtained abroad in the Brazilian territory.

Why would I need to recognize my foreign divorce in Brazil?

Recognizing a foreign divorce in Brazil is necessary for you to be legally considered divorced in the country. It enables you to deal with legal matters here, such as property division, decisions regarding alimony and financial support, as well as the ability to remarry.

What documents are required to initiate the recognition process?

Generally, you will need a copy of the foreign divorce decree, apostilled in the state where the decision was issued, translated into Portuguese by a sworn translator, and other specific documents depending on your case.

How long does it take to recognize a foreign divorce in Brazil?

The time varies from case to case but can take several months, depending on the complexity and the foreign jurisdiction.

Can I recognize my foreign divorce in Brazil without the assistance of a lawyer?

It is not possible to file with the Superior Court of Justice without the help of a Brazilian lawyer. Foreign lawyers are not authorized to file in Brazil. It is highly recommended to consult with a lawyer specialized in international law, as the process can be complex and requires specific knowledge.

What are the costs associated with recognizing a foreign divorce in Brazil?

Costs vary, including court fees, attorney fees, obtaining apostilles, and document translation. They depend on the case and the number of documents to be legalized and translated into Portuguese. A rough cost estimate would be between R$5,000 to R$10,000.

Do I need to appear in person at a Brazilian court to recognize my foreign divorce?

In most cases, personal appearance in a Brazilian court is not necessary. Hiring an experienced Brazilian lawyer specializing in recognizing foreign divorces in Brazil is usually sufficient. The Brazilian lawyer will prepare a power of attorney that, once signed, allows the lawyer to represent the petitioner before the Superior Court of Justice (STJ).

Will my foreign divorce be automatically accepted in Brazil?

No foreign divorce is automatically recognized in Brazil. All foreign divorces must go through the recognition process to be acknowledged in the country, either through a notary or the STJ.

How will recognition affect the division of assets and alimony agreements made in the foreign divorce?

The recognition process will enable the division of assets and alimony agreements made abroad to be effective in Brazil. It serves to “recognize” the foreign decision. However, it’s important to note that the recognition process does not blindly accept everything in the foreign decision. Decisions that contradict Brazilian laws or principles may not be accepted.

What is a rogatory letter, and when is it necessary in the recognition process?

A rogatory letter is a formal request sent to a foreign court to obtain information or perform legal acts. It may be necessary in certain recognition cases, especially when the respondent (the ex-spouse) does not cooperate and must be legally served abroad.

Is there a time limit to initiate the recognition process after the foreign divorce?

There is no specific time limit, but it is advisable to do it as soon as possible to avoid future complications. Many people only become aware of this need during property sales or other legal requirements, which can lead to the need for an expedited process, often resulting in higher fees and costs.

Can I request recognition while my foreign divorce is still in progress?

Unfortunately, it is not possible. According to Brazilian law, the foreign decision must have “final and unappealable” status for recognition.

Is recognition necessary for all types of foreign divorces?

Yes, recognition is necessary regardless of the type of foreign divorce, whether consensual or contested. The difference lies in the process of recognition. Divorces without minor children, disputes, or property division can often be done at a notary’s office, while others must be filed with the Superior Court of Justice (STJ).

Does my ex-spouse need to be notified of the recognition process?

If the foreign divorce is consensual, and both parties agree to recognition, notification may not be necessary for simpler cases handled at notaries. For cases filed with the STJ, it’s almost always required that the ex-spouse agrees in writing. If the ex-spouse does not participate through written consent, it may be necessary to file a request with the STJ for proper service, either within Brazil or abroad.

Can I remarry in Brazil after recognition?

Yes, after recognition, you will be legally able to remarry in both Brazil and abroad.

Will the foreign divorce be recognized throughout Brazil after recognition?

Yes, the recognition will be valid throughout the entire Brazilian territory.

How do I choose a lawyer to assist me in the recognition process?

Look for a lawyer specialized in international law and experienced in cases of recognizing foreign divorces in Brazil. Our law firm is one of the most traditional in providing legal services related to the recognition of foreign divorces in Brazil.

What are the consequences if I do not recognize my foreign divorce in Brazil?

You may face legal issues, such as not being considered legally divorced in the country for purposes of alimony and property division, as well as being unable to marry again.

Who is responsible for overseeing the recognition process?

Simpler cases are overseen by a notary public, while more complex cases are judged by a Justice of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) in Brazil.

How can I obtain more information or initiate the recognition process?

Contact a lawyer specialized in the recognition of foreign divorces in Brazil to obtain specific guidance on your case. We offer paid consultations where you can have all your questions answered, whether or not you choose to hire us to recognize your foreign divorce in Brazil.