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Life After Divorce for the Foreign Parent in Brazil

There are many foreigners who come to live in Brazil in order to work, study and raise a family. Those who marry or live in a stable union in Brazil with their Brazilian spouse obtain a permanent visa from the competent authorities to live freely in Brazil.

The end of the marriage or stable union, however, can force the foreigner to leave the country. Thus, if the condition that authorized the stay of the foreigner in Brazil is no longer continuing (i.e., the marriage or relationship), the foreigner must return to his or her country of origin, under penalty of removal.

Notwithstanding, Brazilian law allows foreigners to stay in Brazil even after the dissolution of their marriage or stable union, provided that the foreigner has a Brazilian child under his or her care and economic dependence.

Article 75, Section II, paragraphs “a” and “b” of Law 6.815/80 states that a foreigner that is married or in fact in a stable relationship of more than five years cannot be removed from Brazil, in addition to the foreigner who has children in Brazil under his care and economic dependence.

The right to stay granted to a foreign parent with Brazilian children continues so long as the child is under the parent’s social, moral and economic dependence.

The possibility of the parent’s stay as permitted by Brazilian law is based on the best interests of the child, an analysis that is common worldwide. The term “best interests of the child” is embedded in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959), which in its second principle provides: “In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interest of the child shall be the paramount consideration.”

Therefore, it is the duty of family, society, and the State to give children absolute priority, among others, family life, given that the foreign parent cannot be deprived of such interaction simply because the marriage or union has ended.