With the divorce decision there are several key issues that need to be resolved as soon as possible.

Firstly, it should be decided exercise of parental responsibilities of minor children, in particular, with whom the minor will reside, visits arrangements, holidays and festive periods, pension payment and other essential questions of life of minor children. But there are other important issues to decide. Let’s see.

How to share the common property and debts?

It is important that the couple set the list of common assets, debts and other obligations created during the marriage. This list should contain a concrete and detailed description of each asset (real estate, vehicles, bank balances, furniture, etc.) and the value assigned to each of these assets.

In relation to common debts and obligations, the debt value, identification of the creditor (bank, financial institution, etc.) and, if possible, reference of the contract should also be indicated in concrete terms. All this will be essential in order to subsequently make the map of sharing between the ex-spouses. At this point, it is important to note that at the time of division of property, both are equally responsible for fulfilling the obligations, including the payment of benefits and debts. In other words, the lender may require one of the former spouses to pay the entire debt or fulfillment of the obligation; should this former spouse subsequently require the other to perform its part of the debt or obligation. In certain cases, one of the spouses may see his (her, his) salary executed for payment of a common debt. Loans to other persons where the former spouses are guarantors and who, years later, can bring many problems.

Who gets to live in the family home?

The former spouses must decide on the assignment of the family home, that is, decide who will live in the house that was the home of the family.

In the case of divorce by agreement, the assignment of the family home to one of the spouses will have to be defined and written in a document. If it is not possible to obtain the agreement, then it will be necessary to ask the court to decide which of the two will be the property assigned.

In the case of a court decision, the allocation of the family home will be determined according to several criteria, for example the needs of the spouses and the interests of the children. The assignment will, in principle, be made under lease, whose rules – in particular the amount of rent – will be determined by the court.

Can one of the former spouses is required to pay financial board to the other ex-spouse?

The general rule in Portugal is that each former spouse must obtain their own support. However, in certain exceptional cases, one of the spouses may require the other to pay the financial pension.

This means that the financial pension to be paid by a former spouse to the other is exceptional and only temporary, because the aim is to help the former spouse to have secured their basic needs. In the first days after the divorce, the former spouse who receives the financial pension must have a minimum of conditions to adapt to his new life.

Who gets the pet?

Recently, it was established law that governs the situation of the former couple pets, namely, who will get the animal guard taking into account the interests of the animal and the family. The divorce agreement (if it is friendly) or the divorce decree (if it is in dispute) must establish which of the ex-spouses is with the animal, if the animal is in turn with the spouses and what regime and visits, payment of the costs of food, hygiene and veterinary consultations and their treatments.

Throughout this process, it is advisable to have experienced legal support in clarifying and monitoring these matters.