How can you prepare child relocation from or within Portugal? What if your child has been relocated without your consent?

Portugal is part of Europe. The judgments of the European Court of Justice apply. And the Council Regulation (EC) No 2019/1111 of 29 June 2019 (Brussels II ter) is valid in Portugal.

Portugal is a member of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.

Portugal is also a party to bilateral agreements, concerning French Luso and Luxembourgh Luso.

We will explain what this means for your options.  

Lawyers and mediators in Portugal

We provide a list of lawyers and mediators in Portugal who can assist you in drafting an international parenting plan, in preventing conflicts over the primary residence of the children, and in negotiating and litigating over the children in the event of relocation or child abduction.


Parental authority: Portugal

Decision making model


In Portugal both parents have custody over the child. This is based on article 1977 Code Civil.

After a divorce, parents in principle retain joint custody.

Traveling with children: Portugal

f you want to travel abroad with your child, you need permission from the other parent, if the other parent also has custody. 


Decision making model

Child relocation: Portugal

Substitute permission

If a parent wants to move with the children and the other parent with custody refuses to give permission, the parent who wants to move can request permission from the court. In deciding the dispute, the court must consider not only the children’s best interests, but all the circumstances of the case and weigh all interests.

Preventing relocation

If the other parent wants to prevent the move, he can ask the court to impose a relocation ban. 

Child abduction: Portugal

Decision making model

Hague Convention

Porrtugal is a party to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.


The Central Authority is a first point of contact if you want your children to return. They will forward your request for the children to return to the other parent and offer mediation. The Central Authority will forward the request to the Public Prosecutor, who will start the proceedings at the court. In the proceedings the Crown is the official plaintiff. 

Court procedure

In Portugal child abduction cases are heard by the Family Courts. The District Court in principle takes more then 12 weeks to deal with the case and give its judgment. The Court of Appeal spend 3 to 6 months on the appeal proceedure.  

Child participation

In Portugal, the judge decides in each abduction procedure if and how the child can be heard during the procedure. Appointing a legal representitive for the child (guardian ad litem) does not seem to be the practise in Portugal.


Mediation will be urged at all stages, before and during the return proceedings. The proceedings can be suspended in order to allow the parties to start mediation. Mediated agreements can be confirmed by the court. 


When any of the parties or the Crown appeals, the court can be requested to decide that the return decision will be suspended for the duration of the appel.

You can ask the court to decide that the abducting parent must pay the expenses made in connection with the abduction and the return of the child.


If you think your child is in Portugal, but you do not know exactly where, the Central Authority can help you locate your child.

If you fear that your child will be abducted from Portugal to another country, or otherwise disappear from view, various measures can be taken:

  • orders preventing the removal of the child
  • issuing border alerts
  • temporary placement of child in institutional care.

Decision making model
For more details: check the country profile of Portugal on the website of HCCH.

Criminal law : Portugal

Criminal law

The intentional removal or retention may be a criminal act, depending on the circumstances. It can be sentensed with fines. 

Decision making model

Relevant websites : Portugal

Central Authority 

Directorate-General for Social Reintegration : Central Authority


Blogs about Portugal


No posted blogs published yet.

Relevant case law in Portugal

No posted blogs published yet.

Lawyers and mediators in Portugal

Nuno Cardoso Ribeiro

Nuno Cardoso Ribeiro