If you're thinking about - or indeed have made the decision to - divorce, you may already know a few things about the divorce process in Portugal. General information is available online. However, over many years of practising family law I have learned that one thing you must be really careful with is the potential impact a divorce in Portugal can have on your matrimonial assets.
Living separate lives
Some couples start living separate lives long before they complete the divorce papers or finish a divorce process in the Courts. During that period they are separated but not yet divorced. This can have impact not only in the assets acquired by one of them (that usually are considered as being property of the couple in equal parts) but also on the debts incurred by one of them.
This could mean that one spouse continues to be liable for any debts incurred by the other spouse, even after they have separated. This could include investment decisions involving important amounts of money.
It is critical that you have all the information necessary to decide if the effects of the divorce on any matrimonial assets should be considered to have taken effect from the time of the separation (the moment the couple no longer share the same house) or from the moment the divorce process starts.
Most people don’t think about these details and it can bring huge disadvantages. Potential reasons for delaying taking action are that you don’t feel comfortable dealing with the process or that you are no longer in Portugal. Note, that it is possible to create a Power of Attorney so that a lawyer represents you in the divorce process, including in the final conference where the divorce decree will be declared.
In this way, you can have your lawyer complete the request about the effects of the divorce on matrimonial assets, to make sure that the Debts that the other person might incur after the separation will not affect you nor impact on your assets.
This is of course a very sensitive area of law and for this reason, an English-speaking lawyer is of course, very beneficial to ensure that your issues and your instructions are clear, and carried-out in the way that you wish.