The Pros and Cons of Marrying a Brazilian: What to Consider Before Tying the Knot

Marrying someone from a different culture can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. If you are considering marrying a Brazilian, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a lifelong commitment. Brazil is a country known for its vibrant culture, stunning natural beauty, and warm and friendly people. However, there are also cultural differences and societal norms that can affect your relationship in ways you may not have anticipated. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of marrying a Brazilian and what you should consider before tying the knot.

Marriage and divorce in Brazil are complex topics, shaped by cultural and legal factors, like the immense burocracy that reigns the country. 

In Brazil, marriage is considered a significant milestone, and family values are deeply ingrained in society. Divorce, on the other hand, was legalized only in the 1970s, and it remains a sensitive and sometimes taboo subject. Despite the high rate of divorce in Brazil, there is still a social stigma associated with ending a marriage, especially for women. With this in mind, it’s essential to consider the legal procedures of marriage and divorce in Brazil before taking the plunge.

Marriage in Brazil:

A non-Brazilian individual who wishes to get married in Brazil, regarding his nationality, must comply with the legal requirements set out in the Brazilian Civil Code. Their valid passport serves as personal identity.

The first step for non-Brazilian is to provide their identity and civil status. These documents may need to be translated into Portuguese by a sworn translator, depending on the requirements of the relevant government agency.

To prove that they are not currently married, the non-Brazilian individual must obtain a certificate of civil status from their home country. This document should be legalized by the Brazilian Consulate or Embassy in their home country and translated into Portuguese if necessary.

A civil ceremony is required for a marriage to be recognized by the Brazilian government. This is usually a simple ceremony performed at a registry office, and it is necessary to present certain documents, such as birth certificates, passports, identification documents, and a declaration of single status. Also, two witnesses are required for the civil ceremony. They must be at least 18 years old and not be family members.

“Proclamas” is a term used in Brazil to refer to publishing a notice of the couple’s intent to marry in a local newspaper or at the registry office. After the “proclamas” have been published, there is a waiting period of 15 days before the couple can proceed with the civil ceremony.

It is possible (and recommendable) to sign a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement in Brazil. This can be helpful to protect assets and clarify financial responsibilities in case of a divorce.

In Brazil, it is possible for individuals to grant a power of attorney to another person, allowing them to act on their behalf in legal and financial matters. This can be useful for individuals who are unable to be physically present in Brazil but still need to handle legal matters related to their marriage or divorce. However, it is important to ensure that any power of attorney documents is properly executed and legally valid in Brazil.

Foreign individuals who are married to Brazilian citizens may be eligible for a visa that allows them to live and work in Brazil. The process of obtaining a visa by marriage can be complex, and there are several requirements that must be met, such as providing proof of the marriage, demonstrating financial support, and passing a medical exam.

In Brazil, children born to Brazilian parents are generally considered Brazilian citizens, regardless of where they are born. However, the process of obtaining Brazilian citizenship for children born to foreign parents can be complex and may require the assistance of an attorney who is familiar with Brazilian immigration law.

Divorce in Brazil

Divorce in Brazil is a complex and often emotional process that involves legal, financial, and personal considerations. In Brazil, there are two ways to obtain a divorce: judicial and extrajudicial.

Judicial divorce is the most common divorce method in Brazil, and it involves filing a lawsuit in court. The process typically involves hiring a lawyer and going through a series of legal proceedings to resolve issues related to child custody, child support, and the division of assets.

When it comes to child support in Brazil, the amount is determined by the judge based on 2 factors, the necessity of the child and the possibility of the non-custodial parent. The amount ranges around U$ 300,00 to U$ 600,00 on average, but it can be much more than this since it is usual for a Judge to establish it as a percentage of the wage of the non-custodial parent from 20% to 30% of their income. However, the amount can vary depending on the circumstances of each case, such as the child’s age, health, social status, and education (and nationality of the non-custodial parent!!).

It is important to note that failure to pay child support can result in legal consequences, including fines and even imprisonment (very commonly used as a pressure mechanism to enforce outstanding payments).

In terms of the division of assets, Brazilian law follows the principle of “community property,” which means that any assets acquired during the marriage are considered jointly owned by both parties and should be divided equally in the event of a divorce. However, if one party can prove that they contributed more to the acquisition of the assets, they may be entitled to a larger share. In some cases, the division of assets can be a complex process, especially if the couple owns businesses or property in different countries. Since this division is not always straightforward, it is very common to face disputes over the valuation of assets and how they should be divided.

It is also important to note that if a couple was married in another country but wishes to obtain a divorce in Brazil, they must first register their marriage in Brazil. This process involves presenting the necessary documentation to the Brazilian consulate in the country where the marriage took place and obtaining a certificate of registration. Once the marriage is registered in Brazil, the divorce can proceed through the judicial or extrajudicial system.

After the divorce is finalized, the sentence of divorce must be registered with the Brazilian Civil Registry. This involves presenting the necessary documentation to the Civil Registry office, which will then issue a certificate of divorce. It is important to complete this step to ensure that the divorce is legally recognized in Brazil.

The second option for obtaining a divorce in Brazil is through extrajudicial divorce, which is also known as consensual divorce. This method is less complicated and less time-consuming than judicial divorce, and it can be a good option for couples who agree on all the terms of their divorce. In this case, the couple must go to a notary public and sign a divorce agreement. The agreement must then be registered with the relevant government agency to be legally valid.

Final remarks:

When embarking on a journey to marry a person from Brazil, brace yourself for a profound culture shock. Brazilians are deeply rooted in their families, and it is quite normal for relatives to play a role in their lives, sometimes to the point of interfering. Picture this – it’s customary for a mother to move in with her daughter when she has a baby, with the aim of assisting in raising the little one and providing much-needed support. However, this well-intentioned help during a period of adjustment to a new reality can pose challenges for the other spouse, who is also trying to adapt.

On one hand, Brazilian women are known for being warm-hearted, attentive homemakers who dote on their partners. On the other hand, they may also feel culturally isolated or even abused, especially when their requests come across as overly demanding from their perspective.

The conflict of cultures often arises in the most mundane situations, from differences in cuisine to disparities in moral values. As a predominantly Catholic country, marital infidelity can be grounds for not just divorce but also extreme reactions such as homicide, due to the gravity of the transgression in the eyes of many Brazilians. Similarly, recreational drug use is often viewed as a symbol of significant moral degeneration, and something that is wholly unacceptable.

The reserved and unemotional mannerisms that are commonly displayed in some societies are often seen as aloofness or indifference by Brazilians, which can be quite jarring for them. They may feel disregarded or even traumatized by what they perceive as a lack of warmth and empathy.

Time management is another area where significant differences can be observed. While punctuality is highly valued in some cultures, it may not be as crucial in Brazil. Similarly, depending on where your partner comes from, certain household appliances or gadgets may not be part of their reality, and even something as ubiquitous as a clothes dryer may seem utterly unfamiliar.

Yes, Brazil is a country with some backward aspects, and at times, living there can feel like residing in a tiny, remote town in the middle of nowhere. However, the key to a successful marriage with a Brazilian partner is not just about dialogue but also about cultivating tolerance and learning to accept that certain things may not be taught but rather embraced or ignored.

Best of Luck,

Dr. Mauricio Ejchel

Lawyer in Brazil