Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And When the Whirlwind Romance Doesn't Last?

When we read about cross cultural relationships and the relocations that follow, we think all about the love. The story of the chase, the move, and the adaptation are just so romantic and interesting. 

We rarely stop to think about what happens when things don't work out. Oh, don't get all excited. Mr. Rant is not on the market. We said til death do us part and if it comes down to that it'll be his. 

So what happens to us foreigners when the relationship that caused us to move in the first place goes down in flames? I bet you all think I'm going to get sentimental. Come on, I'm American. I'm going to get legal! 

After exchanging some emails with a lawyer friend, and reaffirming her that I'm not about to leave my husband, I found out some details. 

We get jack!  Well, you can't say exactly that.  For starters, it depends on the type of marriage contract you entered into here in Brazil. Are you  universal, partial or 100% separated? Mr. Rant and I went universal as we had nothing so it really didn't even need to be discussed. The newbie love and lack of belongings made the decisions easy. I was, however, worried about the security of my Havaiana collection until I realized he has bigger feet. 

From there we go into work and independence. If you are a stay at home Momma who makes next to nothing, you usually get 30% of your husband's income. Of course this is all situation based. If you are young like myself, this will be limited and you'll be told to find a job. Oh the humanity! 

If you are an independent and working woman, you get your own paycheck.  Children will open you up to a bit of child support. Of course, as a woman, if children are involved you usually get to keep the homestead. Primary custody usually goes to the Mother but that can be discussed and if the children are 12 years or over they can voice their opinion. 

Now all of this varies on how much the husband makes and/or can afford, the situation of the household, the wife's income, and the phases of the moon. 

Seriously, this is a very fair system. I'm starting to understand why it takes so damn long to get your case heard in court! They actually figure stuff out down here. 

Of course, as a Mother, I will say that it does not matter how much a husband can afford to give when it comes to child support. If there are children involved they should get enough to keep their lifestyle. The Mother and Father can live on Top Ramen and black beans if money is an issue. 

So there you have it. A rational system that takes time to run.  

Emotionally, that's a whole new ballgame. Personally, I wouldn't leave Rio de Janeiro. This is my home, and more importantly, the home of my boys. Their Father is here.  Then again, I'm not in that situation and single Motherhood anywhere, but especially here, is not easy. Props to all the single Mothers out there!

What would you do? 


  1. Rachel,

    That is a great question!
    We are still fighing for "MARRIAGE"!!
    I haven't even thought what we would do if we got divorced...
    But we did discussed it once, if one day we had children and got a divorce, after finally getting married. We would try to get two apartments, next to each other, so the children could go back and forth and they please and we could have our separated and private quarters ;)
    However, we are still hoping to get married in Brazil and we have been together for almost 15 years, it doesn't look like we will be separating anytime in the future either...


  2. My life, and more importantly the lives of my children are here in France, now. Maybe if my girls were under the age of 5, I might consider moving back to the USA if a divorce, or worse happened. But not now. But I've been here 20 years now and both my girls will be in Junior High next year. I'd have to find a job, but I'd stay here in France where we are well anchored into the social security and school systems.

  3. but but but...I should proof read before I post :)

  4. If I divorced, despite of all the Dutch social security, I would pack and leave to Brazil.

  5. Wow! Perfect topic for me as I am going through a divorce as you write. Although he's American, not Brazilian but now I fell in love with a Carioca and it's way too early to say if we will get married or not and he knows he would hae to move here because of my kiddies.

    After 15 years, 2 kids ( 10 and 12 ), we have been separated since July of 2010 due to his affair. I'm only 37 so I dont' know where I would fall according to age in the Brazilian court system but here, I got the home and as of now, since I am self employed and he was the breadwinner, he continues to contribute the majority of the income for the household to run.
    I don't like it but the economy is what it is. I just landed a new job as VP of Marketing with a company so I'm hoping to be on my own two feet soon. I was a full time mom for 11 years, giving up my place in the workforce to raise our children but now I am back out there and actually enjoy it this time. I'm strong, stubborn and independent.

    He lives with his parents five minutes away so we all see each almost every day.
    The great thing is we are good friends and get along so no drama here which I HIGHLY recommend for the kids' sake.

    Any material possessions we will just decide what he may need when he gets an apartment, we don't care for anything that strongly to fight over it and cause drama. We share custody with me being the primary holder. I'm thankful that we have the relationship we have with each other and our kids really benefit from this even if it's not what I would have wanted or dreamed for my life, or theirs, to be.

  6. I would be shit out of luck.