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
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
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
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
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.