Civil Code Of Portugal

: Japanese Fairy Tales

On the third day of October, 1910, King Manuel II. of Portugal was

dethroned and a Republic was proclaimed throughout the country. At the

present time the affairs of the Republic are being administered by a

provisional government. Until this temporary administration is followed by

a permanent government, based on a national constitution, the Civil Code

promulgated in 1867 will continue to be Portuguese law.

> MARRIAGE.--Marriage is defined in the Civil Code as a perpetual contract

between two persons of different sex to live together and establish a

legitimate family.

Catholics must celebrate marriage according to the rules and form

prescribed by their church. Those who are not Catholics are required to

have their marriage celebrated before a civil officer of the State

according to the rules and form prescribed by the civil law of the land.

Marriage is forbidden:

1. Of minors under the age of 21 years, unless with parental consent.

2. Of persons of adult age who are incapable of properly governing

themselves or their estates, without the authorization of their legal


3. Of an adulterous wife with her accomplice who has been condemned for

the offence.

4. Of a wife who has been condemned as the principal or accomplice of the

crime of homicide with a principal or accomplice in the same crime.

5. Of any person bound by solemn vows of religion to a life of chastity.

The canon law of the Catholic Church defines the religious rules and

spiritual effects of marriage, while the civil law defines the civil rules

and temporal effects of the contract.

A minister of the church who celebrates a marriage contrary to the

requirements of Article 1058 of the Civil Code incurs criminal penalties.

Marriage between Portuguese subjects who are non-Catholics is recognized

as producing full civil effects.

CONSANGUINITY AND AFFINITY.--The following persons are forbidden to marry

each other:

1. Ascendants and descendants.

2. Persons related collaterally in the second degree.

3. Males who have not completed their fourteenth year and females who have

not completed their twelfth year of age.

4. Persons already bound by marriage.

Any infraction of these prohibitions makes a marriage voidable.

MARRIAGE PRELIMINARIES.--Whoever desires to contract marriage according to

the manner provided by the civil law of the land must present to the civil

officer of the State acting in the place of the applicant's domicile a

declaration setting forth:

1. The full names, ages, occupations and domiciles of the contracting


2. The full names, professions and domiciles of the parents.

Upon receiving this declaration the civil officer publishes a notice of

the intended marriage and informs all interested persons to file their

objections, if any exist, within fifteen days. If at the end of this

period no valid objection to the marriage has been formulated the civil

officer proceeds to the celebration of the marriage.

CELEBRATION.--For the civil celebration of marriage the contracting

parties, or their duly empowered proxies, appear before the civil officer

of the commune, attended by competent witnesses. If the marriage is

celebrated in the official bureau of the commune two witnesses are

sufficient; if outside of such bureau six witnesses are required.

Any civil officer celebrating a marriage contrary to these provisions

incurs penal punishment.

ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE.--A Catholic marriage--that is, one solemnized

according to the canonical law--can only be annulled by an ecclesiastical

tribunal and according to the laws of the Catholic Church enforceable in


A sentence of an ecclesiastical tribunal annulling a marriage is executed

by the civil authority of the land.

A marriage concluded before a civil officer in the form established by the

civil law of the land can only be annulled by a civil court.

JUDICIAL SEPARATION.--A separation of the person and goods may be had for

the following causes:

1. Adultery of the wife.

2. Adultery of the husband, if such adultery creates a public scandal or

if the husband brings his concubine into the home he has established for

his wife.

3. Sentence of one of the spouses to life imprisonment.

4. Cruel and abusive treatment.

DIVORCE.--Under the law of Portugal as it existed down to the day when

King Manuel II. was dethroned and a Republic declared there was no such

thing as divorce recognized. Portugal has been for centuries a Catholic

country, and the decrees of the Council of Trent, as well as all the

other rules and regulations concerning marriage stated by the Catholic

Church, have been accepted by Portugal as part of the law of the land.

However, since December 1, 1910, when the present provisional government

was constituted, certain new laws have been promulgated by government

decree. One of these new laws relates to divorce and is most modern and

radical in its scope. It permits the courts to grant absolute divorces for

a number of reasons, including "mutual consent of the parties."

Whether such laws, created by proclamation instead of legislation, will be

incorporated into the inevitable new Civil Code of Portugal is a problem

for the future. Our endeavour in this chapter has been to state the

organic law of Portugal as it at present exists, untouched by legislation

on the statute books of that ancient land.