A marriage abroad, that is, between one or two foreigners, is legally recognized in Brazil as long as it is performed according to the laws of the country in which it took place and does not violate Brazilian laws. Marriage abroad not registered in Brazil can create problems.
For a marriage abroad to be valid in Brazil, it must be registered at the Brazilian Consulate in the country where it took place, and later at the Brazilian Civil Registry Office, with the presentation of the foreign marriage certificate.
If the marriage was celebrated in a country where the law allows same-sex marriages, same-sex marriage will also be recognized in Brazil, provided it meets the legal requirements.
If you need legal support, click here to contact our specialized team.
Author: Gustavo Tenório Campos Semaan
Challenges of marriage in countries with very different Civil Laws
Marriage in countries with civil laws that are very different from Brazil’s can present legal challenges to its validity in Brazil.
For the marriage to be legally valid, it must meet the requirements outlined in Brazilian law. E.R., you have to regularize one marriage abroad not registered in Brazil.
It’s important that the bride and groom, being both or one of them Brazilian, check in advance if the laws of the country where they want to get married are compatible with Brazilian laws.
In addition, it is necessary to be aware of the capacity requirements and matrimonial impediments foreseen in the Brazilian Civil Code.
If the marriage is celebrated in a country that does not require registration in the Brazilian consulate, the marriage certificate must be legalized by the Brazilian consulate or embassy in the country where the marriage took place, for it to be valid in Brazil.
It is important to note that if the marriage was celebrated in a country where the law allows polygamy, it will not be recognized in Brazil, since polygamy is forbidden under Brazilian law.
What are the matrimonial capacity requirements and impediments foreseen in the Brazilian Civil Code
The Brazilian Civil Code establishes some capacity requirements and matrimonial impediments that must be observed for the marriage to be valid. They are:
- To be over 18 years of age: persons under 18 years of age cannot marry, except in cases of judicial authorization;
- To have civil capacity: people who do not have civil capacity, such as the judicially interdicted, cannot get married;
- Free and spontaneous consent: the engaged couple must freely manifest their will to get married, without pressure or coercion.
The matrimonial impediments are
- Relationship in a direct line: parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren;
- Collateral kinship in the second degree: brothers and sisters, uncles and nephews and nieces;
- Adoption: adoptive parents and adoptive children;
- Previous undissolved marriage: a person who is already married and has not had his/her previous marriage annulled or divorced;
- Crime: a person who has been convicted of murder or attempted murder against a spouse;
- Mental Alienation: a person suffering from a mental illness that renders him/her incapable of consenting to or understanding the nature of the marriage.
It’s important to point out that, in some cases, it’s possible to dispense with matrimonial impediments, through judicial authorization.
When a marriage celebrated abroad is impossible to homologate in Brazil due to disagreement with Brazilian Law
Even if the marriage was celebrated according to the legislation of the country in which it took place, a civil marriage celebrated abroad may be considered impossible to homologate in Brazil if there is a disagreement with Brazilian law. E.R., you have to regularize one marriage abroad not registered in Brazil.
The Brazilian Civil Code establishes some requirements for a marriage to be considered valid in the country, such as minimum age, civil capacity, and the free and spontaneous consent of the bride and groom.
If any of these requirements are not met, the marriage can be considered invalid in Brazil.
In such cases, the fiancés and fiancées must make a new marriage in Brazil, following the laws and requirements established by the Civil Code.
It’s important to highlight that even if the marriage abroad cannot be homologated in Brazil, the fiancés can seek the advice of a lawyer to guarantee their rights regarding property and other issues related to the marriage.
How to validate religious marriage celebrated outside Brazil
In some countries, religious marriage is the only form of civil validity of marriage. In Brazil, for this type of marriage to be considered valid, it’s necessary to have the marriage transcribed at the Brazilian civil registry. E.R., you have to pay attention to a marriage abroad not registered in Brazil.
To register a religious marriage in Brazil, the first step is to obtain marriage registration in the country where the marriage was celebrated.
Then you must go to the nearest Brazilian consulate and request the transcription of the marriage in the Brazilian civil registry.
It is important to check whether the country in question has an agreement with Brazil for the transcription of religious marriages.
After the transcription, the religious marriage will have civil validity in Brazil, and the spouses will have access to the rights and benefits provided by law.
It’s worth remembering that the transcription must be performed within 180 days after the wedding has taken place abroad.
How to register the transition of the marriage after the 180-day deadline
If the transcription of the religious marriage in the Brazilian civil registry is not made within 180 days after the wedding has taken place abroad, it is necessary to obtain a court decision that authorizes the delayed transcription of the marriage.
This procedure can be more bureaucratic and time-consuming than having the marriage transcribed within the legal timeframe. In addition, there may be additional costs involved in obtaining the court order and other documents required for the process.
It’s important to note that the lack of transcription of the religious marriage in the Brazilian civil register may prevent the spouses from having access to rights and benefits provided by law, such as pension, inheritance, and social security.
Therefore, it is recommended to have the transcription done within the legal timeframe to avoid possible problems in the future.
A marriage that infringes on women’s rights
Legally, marriage is a formalized union between two people to start a family.
However, in some countries, laws may allow marriage to infringe on women’s rights, such as:
- the requirement of the father’s consent for marriage,
- the possibility of polygamy, or
- marriage to minors, among others.
Even if these marriages are legally recognized in the country in which they took place, they may be considered illegal in other countries that have stricter laws regarding women’s rights.
For example, in Brazil, the 1988 Federal Constitution ensures equality between men and women and prohibits discriminatory practices, which include forced or early marriage.
Therefore, even if a marriage is legal in the country in which it was celebrated, if it violates women’s rights, it may be considered illegal and subject to sanctions in other countries, such as the denial of an immigration visa or even criminalization of those involved.
What happens if you have a marriage in Brazil with another spouse abroad
Marriage in Brazil with another spouse abroad is considered a crime of bigamy, provided for in Article 235 of the Brazilian Penal Code.
The Penal Code provides for a prison sentence of two to six years for those who practice bigamy. In addition, Brazilian law does not recognize the validity of a second marriage as long as the first one is valid.
Those who find themselves in such a situation should seek legal advice and seek an annulment or divorce from the previous marriage before marrying again.
How to register a marriage in Brazil if it was celebrated abroad
To register a marriage celebrated abroad in Brazil, either religious or civil, it is necessary to follow some legal procedures.
The marriage must have been celebrated by the laws of the foreign country and must not infringe on the fundamental rights and guarantees provided for in the Brazilian Federal Constitution.
After the documentation has been analyzed by the consulate, the couple must register the marriage at the Brazilian Civil Registry Office corresponding to their domicile.
It’s important to have the assistance of a lawyer specialized in international law to ensure that the whole process is carried out correctly and to clarify any doubts about Brazilian and foreign laws related to marriage.