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Divorce in Italy

Divorce in Italy

Updated on Monday 18th April 2016

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Family legislation is governed by the Italian Civil Code which provides for marriage, divorce, separation and child support and maintenance after divorce proceedings. Separation proceedings in Italy fall under Articles 150 to 158 in the Civil Law. The notion of ‘divorce’ was introduced in the legislation in 1970 when Law 898/1970 was issued. Foreign citizens are also allowed to end their marriages in Italy according to EU Regulation 1259/2010. As mentioned above there are two ways of ending a marriage in Italy:

  • -          by separation,
  • -          by divorce.

Until recently separation was the simplest way of exiting a marriage in Italy. In May 2015, the Government passed a new law under which Italian divorce proceedings are significantly reduced.

Separation in Italy

Legal separation in Italy is different from divorce because it only releases the spouses from the obligation of cohabitation. According to the Italian Family Law, legal separation is temporary thus allowing spouses to reconcile anytime. There are two types of separation at the moment in Italy:

  • -          separation by mutual consent,
  • -          judicial separation.

In the case of separation by mutual consent, both parties are required to file a joint petition with an Italian court asking for separation. Separation by mutual consent may take up to three years in Italy. In the case of judicial separation, one of the spouses files a complaint with an Italian court asking for the dissolution of the marriage.

Before declaring the annulment of the marriage, the spouses must appear before the Court for a mandatory reconciliation meeting in both types of separation. For assistance in litigation matters you can refer to our law firm in Italy.

The new Divorce Law in Italy

Just as in separation cases, there are two types of divorce proceedings:

  • -          the joint divorce in which both spouses agree on the terms of the dissolution,
  • -          the contested divorce in which the parties have not reached a mutual agreement.

The new Italian divorce legislation, dubbed “The Fast-Track Divorce Law”, allows for a shorter timeframe between the lodging of the divorce petition and the declaration of annulment by the Italian Court. The new law establishes that consensual divorces will take six months, while contested divorces will be reduced to 12 months from the current procedure which can take up to 3 years.

The new Divorce Law is currently pending publication in the Official Gazette in order to be enforced. For updated information related to the Divorce Law you can contact our lawyers in Italy.



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