Lawyer Ricardo Tosto of the firm Leite, Tosto, and Barros, is one of Brazil’s most renowned law experts in mass litigation, and he takes a keen interest in complex cases. This has led to his interest in a recent case working its way to Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice (STJ). The case involves the complicated division of assets between a husband, wife, and the husband’s 3rd-party partner.
The plaintiff in the case is a woman who was in a long-term and, what was in her words, stable relationship with a married man. The man in question was married to another woman for the duration of his relationship with the plaintiff.
Ricardo Tosto notes that despite the wife not being called to court to testify the STJ chose to annul the prior legal proceedings that recognized the substantive relationship between the husband and the 3rd party plaintiff. As such, the plaintiff cannot benefit from any division of assets. The appeal was filed by her ex-partner.
Under the STJ’s ruling, Ricardo Tosto points out that the plaintiff herself was also separated from the man, but the two were living together at the time. In the plaintiff’s original claim, she explicitly stated that her partner’s wife did not contribute to the assets accumulated during the years of her relationship.
The defendant argued in response that he continued to live with his wife several nights a week during this period, and his relationship with the plaintiff was simply a case of adultery. In Ricardo Tosto’s findings, the husband stated to the court that any new division of assets would hurt the settlement already reached with his ex-wife.
Ricardo Tosto concludes that for all the complexities of the case, it boils down to the simple matter of historic legal precedence. The court has only ever recognized one relationship as valid. Despite the validity of a long-term relationship in normal circumstances, the existence of the defendant’s ongoing marriage precludes any legal recognition of the plaintiff’s relationship.
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