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Stuck in Paradise: Emily and Fabian’s COVID Wedding Story

When Emily moved to Brazil in 2016, she didn’t expect to meet her future husband and to stay in Brazil indefinitely.

But that’s exactly what happened. 

Emily, an English teacher and photographer from Eugene, Oregon, took a job working at Favela Inc. on the outskirts of Rio. Favela Inc. is a not-for-profit organization helping entrepreneurs who live in favelas with business management, financial education, and digital marketing. 

We spoke with Emily via Skype. “I wasn’t planning to be in Brazil for Covid, but it’s where I met the love of my life, Fabian, and now thanks to Rocket Lawyer, he is now my husband.”  


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The trip out of Brazil that wasn’t

The two met when Fabian, who is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and an MMA fighter was teaching martial arts to children, close to Favela Inc., where Emily worked. 

After two years of working and living in their community in Buzios, the two decided to plan a cycling trip that would eventually take them from Argentina to Oregon, where Emily is from. 

“We had the grand dream of cycling through South America together. But literally the day before our flight to Argentina earlier this year to start that trip, the borders closed.”  

This meant staying put in Brazil longer than the two had anticipated. 

What do wedding bells and cartorios have in common?

They decided to get married in September of 2019 and began the grueling process of getting married in a country where neither was a citizen. They quickly ran into a few hiccups along the way: Emily is American and Fabian is Argentinian. Because of their nationalities, Emily could not enter Argentina and Fabian couldn’t go to the U.S. 

“We started the marriage process early in Brazil by going to a cartorio, which is the place where you go to get all your legal stuff taken care of,” Emily explains. “But every time we went in, they came back with something else that we were missing. We thought we did everything they had asked for–birth certificates translated, passports registered, but then because I’m from the U.S., I needed some document stating that I hadn’t been married before.” 

Legal made simple

After a lot of research, Emily found out that the document the cartorio needed doesn’t exist in the U.S. and because the U.S. Consulate was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she had to find an alternative. 

“Online I learned that a lot of people in different countries have run into the same issue we were having,” Emily explained. “So I did some research to see how other people solved the problem.” Soon she figured out a solution: you can hire a lawyer to draft up an affidavit certifying that you have not been married. 

“I did some research and found Rocket Lawyer,” Emily says. “It was such a simple, easy and straightforward process. I was able to use the affidavit from my county and state where I am from and it worked! It was fast and easy to use. The document was certified, legal, and helped us get married.” 

Happily ever after

Emily and Fabian plan to cycle through South American once it’s safe again to travel. But until then, the newlyweds are making the most of their time in Brazil. 

“Hopefully in 2021 in a post-vaccine world, we will be living between the U.S. and Argentina,” Emily says. Until then, Emily and Fabian are making the most of their time in Brazil. “This has been our Covid refuge,” Emily says with a smile. “It isn’t so bad being stuck in paradise 150 meters from the beach.”

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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