If you are getting divorced in Portugal, you will need to agree on child custody matters, as well as your children’s financial needs and other matters related to their welfare.

This is a very important process and it is important that you get it right. If you fail to reach an agreement on this, then the court will make a decision for you based on what’s best for the child/children.

The judge will be able to decide how much time each parent gets to spend with their child. The court may even order that a third party (such as a grandparent) be responsible for the child or children during certain periods of time if they feel it would be in their best interest.



In the process of divorce, the exercise of parental rights must be decided either by the Registrar at the Civil Registry if by agreement or by the judge if not by agreement.

A child’s custody, education and care are determined by the law of the country where they live.

There are two ways that parents can share custody of their children:

  1.  Joint Guardianship: This means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities towards their children.
  2. Single Guardianship: This means that one parent has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing and care, while the other parent has limited rights to contact or access.

If you are married and have children, the law in Portugal presumes that both you and your spouse will be responsible for the care of your children. This means that if you divorce, either party may make decisions about their children’s education, religion, medical care, and other important aspects of their lives, unless there is a court order to the contrary.

In fact, if proceedings are commenced in court, each party is given the opportunity to reach an agreement about parental responsibility at the first hearing.

If this does not happen and it appears unlikely that an agreement can be reached, then the court will hear from both parties, as well as the child if appropriate,  and make a decision regarding what is in the best interests of their child.

Call one of our Portuguese family law experts at Castelo Solicitors today on 020 3441 5095

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