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Proxy Marriage: why the pandemic has increased the necessity for Proxy Marriage ?

Beyond the obvious public health concerns, the Covid-19 pandemic has likewise managed to spoil the wedding plans of myriad couples – or, we should say, nearly.

In recent years it has become quite difficult to hold old-fashioned wedding ceremonies due to restrictive measures imposed via varying health authorities. Engaged couples have relegated their intentions to wed to ‘destiny,’ and many of them remain separated across different countries.

Even so, a provision in Brazilian legislation has given hope to couples who were previously out of each other’s reach and no longer wish to continue waiting to celebrate their marriage.

Article 1,542 of the Brazilian Civil Code provides that:

“A marriage ceremony may be performed by proxy via power of attorney, by way of public instrument expressly granted with special authority.”

In such a manner, Proxy marriage has become the toast of couples who had previously been physically distanced from one another and yet all the same wish to finally, and formally, get married.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

These days, celebrating a wedding even when one of the spouses is unable to attend is no longer an impossibility, so long as the absent party has appointed someone whom they trust to act as their representative via a documented Power-of-Attorney.  In fact, both parties can take advantage of this option, so long as they are represented by different attorneys.

However, couples must pay close attention to the requirements for employing the use of such proxies, since they can only be certified by drafting and filing a power-of-attorney through the appropriate channels and authorized bodies with the necessary jurisdiction. This therefore must be carried out in the presence of a Notary Public, and must furthermore contain all information essential to legally effectuate the marriage, including complete information for both spouses as well as any pre-determined structuring for marital assets. For those residing abroad, merely certifying the power of attorney in the presence of a public notary within the current country of residence is sufficient, with subsequent authentication in Brazil to be secured at a later time.

Given the nature of Marriage-By Proxy, since one of the parties will generally be in a different country, there is a requirement that all documents in a foreign language (including for the proxy itself, if applicable) must be apostilled, translated and submitted for filing to Brazil.

CONSIDERING EVERYTHING, IS A PROXY MARRIAGE WORTH IT?

The answer is clear: YES!

There are truly no barriers for love, and marriage-by-proxy functions as an outstanding alternative for couples living in separate countries.

It is no wonder, then, that this legal alternative to traditional marriage has become so popular for people who are unable to make the trip across borders to formalize their union.

All the same, it is necessary to pay close attention to the processes and requirements which may vary depending on the registry office processing the documentation. It is highly recommended to retain the help of trained professionals to ensure that each step of the process is handled both correctly and as quickly as possible. Please keep in mind, there are some countries which do not yet recognize marriage-by-proxy, so always do your research!

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Maiara Siegrist is a lawyer and works with International Family and Immigration Law as well as she is as a legal consultant in Foreign Law. Specialist and Master’s Student in International Law at Stetson Law University.
Contact: [email protected]

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