Familial woes, revenue flows

Brazil’s record divorce rate is a boon for law firms.

The number of divorces by the end of 2021 in Brazil reached more than 80,000.  As is often the case in Brazil, everyone seems to know about a recent divorcee.

A university professor and specialist in Brazilian family law explained, “The easy joke was to blame the pandemic. And, obviously, all clichés have an element of truth. Bear in mind that some states in Brazil, like São Paulo, had quite rigid lockdowns and some public administration facilities were closed for almost a year. This significantly slowed down the necessary bureaucratic procedures, including divorces.”

“Bear in mind that some states in Brazil, like São Paulo, had quite rigid lockdowns and some public administration facilities were closed for almost a year.”

University professor and specialist in family law, Brazil

Indeed, the pandemic and lockdowns played a huge role in intensifying existing couple conflicts. But divorce figures were in the region of 75,000 before the outbreak of the pandemic. In fact, the number has been steadily increasing since 2007, when a federal law allowed the filing for divorce in notary offices. Since then, divorce filings show that almost 50% of the marriages last less than ten years, a trend which was around a third in the 2000s.

Of course, there’s a huge business around divorces and firms specialised in family law are reaping the benefits. Several firms are better adapting to the current virtual needs. Some mid-sized law firms reject on-line bureaucratic procedures which are seen as informal by old school traditional lawyers. There is a lot of prejudice toward virtual procedures in these sectors, despite Brazil being a country with a high level of electronic government services.

Many judges and courts are also reluctant to use on-line tools. Rejecting on-line notifications is a clear stumbling block to fulfilling the rights of citizens, which include divorce. But those are “dinosaurs,” says the professor which the development of the judicial administration will leave lagging behind sooner than later.

“For all the misery that COVID-19 has brought, at least it has made the government take a leap forward in moving administrative services online. For instance, in July 2020 the College of Notaries of Brazil promoted e-Notoriado, a platform to digitalise notarial services, which included divorce petitions”, explained the professor.

“For all the misery that Covid-19 has brought, at least it has made the government take a leap forward in moving administrative services online.”

University professor and specialist in family law, Brazil

In relation to the evangelical groups, they are concentrated in mostly supporting Bolsonaro in the most unambiguous way possible. The president of the evangelical parliamentary group [Sóstenes Cavalcante] recently mentioned that, during the governments of the Worker’s Party, Christian values were permanently under threat.

The blocs are currently focused on president Jair Bolsonaro standing a chance to win and they will use any argument that attracts voters to their camp which include family values. However, even if divorce is antithetical to Christian doctrines and it is a matter of conflict within evangelical congregations, it rarely, thankfully, decides votes.

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