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Marrying a Brazilian in Brazil: A Step-by-Step Guide for U.S. Citizens

1. Finding the Appropriate Registry Office

Firstly, you need to determine which registry office you should register your marriage at. The website Registro Civil can help you locate the nearest registry office.

2. Necessary Documents

  • For the U.S. citizen:
    • Valid passport.
    • Birth certificate.
    • Status declaration from the American Consulate in Brazil.
  • For the Brazilian citizen:
    • ID (RG) and Tax ID (CPF).
    • Updated birth certificate.

3. Translations and Apostille

All documents from the U.S. citizen need to be translated by a sworn translator. We recommend using the services of Lítero to ensure quality and efficiency. After translation, both the original documents and their translations must be apostilled through the Hague Apostille Convention in the U.S.

4. Submitting the Documents

Submit all documents to the chosen registry office and pay the associated fees.

5. Sworn Translator as Interpreter

If the U.S. citizen doesn’t speak Portuguese, a sworn translator is required during the signing ceremony to act as an interpreter. You can request a quote for sworn translation and interpretation services at Lítero.

6. Marriage Regimes

  • Partial Community of Property: The default regime if no other is chosen. Assets acquired after the wedding are shared by the couple.
  • Universal Community of Property: All assets, whether acquired before or after the wedding, belong to the couple.
  • Total Separation of Property: Each individual maintains their own assets.
  • Final Participation in Acquests: Combines features of both partial and total regimes.

7. Child Custody Rights

In Brazil, both parents have equal rights over children. Custody can be shared or sole, depending on what’s judicially determined.

8. Divorce and International Recognition

A divorce carried out in Brazil is valid in the U.S., but it needs to be ratified by an American court. The same goes for divorces carried out in the U.S. that wish to be recognized in Brazil. To recognize foreign divorces in Brazil, the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) must be approached.

9. Custody Dispute Cases

Famous cases include the Sean Goldman case, highlighting the complexity and sensitivity of international custody disputes. It’s crucial to understand international treaties and domestic laws, always seeking legal counsel when facing such challenges.

When marrying a foreign national, it’s vital to be aware of the legal and cultural differences that might impact your relationship and any future legal proceedings. Always consult a lawyer specialized in family law or international law for detailed, specific advice.


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