The Marital Regime

Understand what types of marriage contract are available in Brazil, as well as information on prenuptial agreements...

Prior to marrying, a couple must sign their agreement to the type of basic marriage contract into which they are entering. There are four kinds of marital regime available in Brazil.

  1. Partial Property Ruling (Comunhão Parcial): the most common system of law for marriage. Property owned by each individual prior to marriage remains their personal property, as does any property purchased during the marriage using resources or rights which date to before the marriage (such as an inheritance). However, any property purchased after the wedding using resources arising from the period of the marriage belongs jointly to the couple.
  2. Community Property Ruling (Comunhão de Bens) whereby the property of both partners, whether acquired before or after the marriage, remains the joint property of both partners. A couple planning to marry under this system must start their marriage process by signing a pre-nuptial agreement at the Civil Registry Office.
  3. Separate Property Ruling (Separação de Bens): all property acquired either before or after marriage remains the property of the individual. A couple planning to marry under this system must start their marriage process by signing a pre-nuptial agreement at the Civil Registry Office. The separate property ruling is compulsory for those over 60 years of age.
  4. Final Partition of Acquisitions (Participação Final dos Aqüestos): all property acquired either before or after marriage remains the property of the individual, as in the Separate Property Ruling. However, on separation (by divorce or death), all property which was acquired during the marriage will be divided fairly.

Prenuptial agreements

Although now a standard requirement for Community Property Rulings and Separate Property Rulings, prenuptial agreements are becoming more common. The agreement is private and can be drawn up by an attorney specializing in family affairs, who will base the agreement on the Brazilian Civil Code. There are also agencies specialized in assuming responsibility for the bureaucratic side of the marriage preparations.