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Portugal: Divorce in One Hour

(Oct. 17, 2008) As part of a simplification program that started in 2006, known as the Simplex Initiative and designed to make the services provided by the public sector faster and more responsive to citizens' and businesses' needs, now couples with no minor children and no property to be shared can obtain a divorce in Portugal in one hour or less. The Simplex Initiative has created an electronic identification card that contains all relevant information about its holder and that can also work as a digital signature, eliminating the time-consuming paperwork that required a person's signature. A request for a divorce may be filed online with the appropriate agency, and if all the requirements for divorce are met, a judge adjudicates the petition, in many cases, less than an hour later. (Portugal Cria Divórcio-Relâmpago pela Internet, O GLOBO ONLINE, Oct. 14, 2008, available at