If you live in Portugal and you wish to request the return of a child displaced or retained illegally abroad, or if you pretend to request the protection of rights of access of a child residing abroad, you may, having such request a legal basis, contact preferably by email, the Directorate-General of Reintegration and Prisional Services, as Portuguese Central Authority, which is responsible, among other things, for providing the clarifications and necessary assistance to instruct the application and to obtain the necessary documentation to send to the foreign Central Authority.
It is not mandatory to appoint a lawyer during the initial phase of the proceedings with the Portuguese Central Authority.
However, at a later stage of the proceedings, it may be necessary to appoint a lawyer in some requested States, in accordance with the domestic law of those States.
If legal aid is needed, the holder(s) of custody / access rights may require the benefit of legal aid. The holder should contact the competent authorities of the State of his residence. In Portugal, Instituto de Segurança Social I.P. is the competent authority for legal aid issues.