Marital Regime in Portugal

Understand the different types of marital regime in Portugal. Also information on laws relating to divorce, nationality and same-sex unions...

There are four kinds of marital regime (regime de bens) available in Portugal. The default system is marriage in community of property (Comunhão de adquiridos). Pre-nuptial agreements should be drawn up to alter this in any way.

  1. Community of property (Comunhão geral): All property brought to the marriage and acquired during the marriage is communal. This marital regime cannot be chosen if one or both of the marrying parties already has children.
  2. "Acquired" community of property (Comunhão de adquiridos): only goods and property acquired after the marriage are communal.
  3. Out of community of property (Separação geral de bens): The law imposes this marital regime when one or both of the couple are aged sixty or more.
  4. Other: Portuguese law allows couples to choose their own marital regime, or combine certain characteristics of the three above.

For comprehensive information on marital regimes in Portugal see the Portuguese-language website of the Registry Office (Instituto dos Registos e Notariado)

Divorce

In 2019, a new law came into force abolishing the waiting time required for divorced men and women before they could remarry

The Portuguese divorce process is smoother and faster in both parties are in agreement. 

There are three types of divorce in Portugal:

  • Mutual consent through a Civil Registry Office: both parties agree on ending the marriage and issues regarding child care, spousal maintenance, and division of assets
  • Mutual consent in court: both parties agree to end the marriage, but not the divorce conditions attached to it
  • Without the consent of one spouse: only one party agrees with ending the marriage, usually involving a court hearing

To start the divorce process visit the Ministry of Justice website

Nationality

Foreign citizens do not acquire Portuguese nationality when marrying a Portuguese citizen. However, they may apply for Portuguese citizenship after three years of marriage.

Applications can be made at the Central Registry Office (Conservatória dos Registos Centrais)

Same-Sex Marriage

In 2010 Portugal became the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage. It gives the couple the same legal rights as heterosexual couples regarding taxes, inheritance, and rights to property. A legal gay marriage performed in another country is recognised in Portugal.

The law does not permit same-sex married couples to adopt children as a couple and a legal adoption performed in another country may not be recognised in Portugal (the individuals retain a right to adopt).

The marriage documents required and the process for marriage are the same as any civil wedding. For useful information see the ePortugal website

Further Information

The Consular Offices of most Embassies are able to help their nationals with much of the documentation required in the preparation of a wedding in Portugal.