Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cartório - São Paulo

Yesterday my husband and I finally stopped putting off going to the cartório. What is a cartório exactly? I guess it is most like an American notary public; it is a place that confirms that you are you, and your signature is yours and that you know how to sign it exactly the same way as you did a week ago, five years ago, whenever you registered it. The photo above is the line-up of file cabinets containing index cards full of signatures. Each time you go in and sign something, they check it against the card. Forget your middle initial in your signature? Nope, you are not you. Fail.

We were at the cartório to have my husband sign off on an authorization for me to travel with our children without him. Every time we take a local, national or international trip on mass transport (bus, train, airplane), I need to carry this authorization. When we leave for Chicago next week (me and the 6-year old twins) I will have to show this to the federal police at the immigration desks (wouldn't that be emigration? Discuss.) and they will check it against a list of kids who cannot leave the country (think in the case of a contested custody fight, etc). Sometimes it worries me that I do not have free choice on traveling with my kids without my husband's sign-off. The US does not require this kind of documentation. If your kids are not Brazilian (mine are half Brazilian) they also do not require these forms here.

This sign-off is necessary until the kids reach 18 years of age. Last year I traveled with my stepkids too and their mom and their dad had to sign off that I could take them out of Brazil. Yes, the US and Brazil have had some issues with kids being kidnapped by one parent or the other and that is why this law is in place. I get it. I still don't have to like it.

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