Decisions on private rights, handed down by a foreign court or by official entities competent for this purpose (such as a notary or registry office), do not produce effects in Portugal, whatever the nationality of the parties, without being reviewed and confirmed (with the exception of decisions handed down by the courts of some European Union countries under Council Regulation (EC) 2201/2003 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgements in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility).

What decisions?

  • Divorce decree;
  • Consensual union (stable union confirmed by public deed of declaration of stable union by Notary Public abroad);
  • Adoption Judgment;
  • Judgment on the Regulation of Parental Responsibilities, the revision and confirmation of the decision by the Court of Appeal is necessary for its effects to be admitted in Portugal.
  • But not only that, any civil conviction, indemnity, or other decision issued by a foreign Court has to be reviewed/confirmed by the competent Portuguese Court to produce its effects in Portugal.

The recognition of decisions in Portugal by citizens may take on added importance for the acquisition of nationality (when the acquisition of nationality is based on marriage, for example), for establishing paternity in relation to an adopted child and applying for a residence card for the adopted child, or even to enforce a decision on parental responsibility or the collection of maintenance.

This procedure may be submitted by one of the parties against the other, for example in the case of recognition of a divorce judgment, or by both parties jointly, in which case the summons is avoided, and the proceedings are processed more quickly.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.