Divorce Lawyers in Italy - Experienced attorney ready to help
Divorce in Italy
Updated on Thursday 08th December 2022
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TheItalian family law is regulated by the Civil Code, which prescribes the legal framework for family related matters, such as marriage, divorce, divorce proceedings, regulations concerning the rights of children, including during and after the separation of the parents (child support and child maintenance).
Divorce legislation in Italy
- Civil Law,
- Fast-Track Divorce Law,
- EU regulations
Types of divorce in Italy
- by mutual consent,
- judicial separation
Representation for foreigners in Italy (YES/NO)
Representation for both spouses (YES/NO)
Child custody legal advice (YES/NO)
Mutual consent formalities
Filing a joint petition
Reconciliation before legal separation (YES/NO)
Legal advice for distribution of mutual assets
Legal counseling is offered
Free case evaluation
Representation in the court of law
Timeframe for a divorce in Italy
Between 6 and 12 months
Annulment of marriage (YES/NO)
Civil partnership dissolution available (YES/NO)
Possibility to contest the divorce (YES/NO)
Legal aid eligibility criteria
For persons with unstable financial situation
Separation proceedings in Italy fall under Articles 150 - 158 of the Civil Law. The notion of ‘divorce’ was introduced in the Italian legislation in 1970, when the Law 898/1970 was issued. In the case of foreign citizens married in Italy who want to start the divorce proceedings, the EU Regulations 1259/2010 will apply.
As we presented earlier, marriage in Italy can be ended through two main options, represented by separation and divorce. Until recently, separation was the simplest way of exiting a marriage in Italy. In May 2015, the Government passed a new law through which Italian divorce proceedings are significantly reduced. Our divorce lawyer in Italy can provide legal representation to local and foreign persons who want to start the divorce procedure here.
Foreigners who want to buy a house in Italy are advised to contact our local lawyers to benefit from the services offered in this regard. They can check the documents of the chosen property and prepare a series of procedures related to real estate due diligence and the detection of possible legal problems. We can represent clients in front of the notary, when the sale-purchase contract is signed, as well as those who cannot be present in this process.
Separation procedure presented by our divorce lawyer in Italy
Legal separation in Italy is different from divorce because it only releases thespouses 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 separations at the moment in Italy: separation by mutual consent and 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. 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, thespouses must appear before the court for a mandatory reconciliation meeting in both types of separation. For assistance in litigation matters, you can address to ourdivorce lawyer in Italy. You can also watch the following video presentation we have prepared for you:
What happens after legal separation in Italy?
As we have presented up until now, those who want to end a marriage in Italy will first have to go through legal separation, which does not represent a divorce in itself, but it does represent a way for the spouses to be apart. Once the decision for legal separation is established (by mutual consent or by a court order), there are a set of consequences, which can be explained in detail by our divorce lawyer in Italy. Some of the most common effects of the legal separation are the following:
thespouses no longer have the obligation of living in the same place;
in the case in which the wife has taken the husband’s family name, he will have the right to forbid her to use the respective name, but this is applicable only in specific situations;
in the case in which thecouple has children, the parent who will no longer live in the same place where the child is, will be legally required to pay child support;
the amount of child support is established by the Italian court handling the case;
if after the separation, the spouse who was not responsible for the separation does not dispose of sufficient financial means, the other spouse is legally required to pay maintenance;
if there is a decision regarding the payment of child support and maintenance for a spouse, and the other spouse refuses to pay accordingly, this situation will be considered a criminal offence;
the spouse refusing to pay the respective amounts of money can be charged under the Section 570 of the Italian Criminal Code.
The new Divorce Law in Italy
In Italy, divorce proceedings are divided between the following: the joint divorce in which both spouses agree on the terms of the dissolution, and the contested divorce in which the parties have not reached a mutual agreement. Regardless of the current situation of couples wanting to divorce in Italy, our team of Italian lawyers can assist with in-depth advice on the applicable legislation and on the procedures to end a marriage here.
The new ItalianDivorce Law, 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 three years.
What is the divorce procedure in Italy?
Provided that the legal separation did not lead to the reconciliation of the parties, the next stage the spouses have to go through is the divorce itself. One or both of the spouses can apply for a divorce in a period of six or twelve months since the legal separation was established. The procedure starts by filing a petition with the local court, which requests the dissolution of the marriage.
As a general rule, the petition can be filed at the court which has jurisdiction over the region where the spouse resides. In the case of persons residing in other countries, they are allowed to file their petition at any competent court in Italy. However, foreigners who are married with Italian citizens can also request to start the divorce procedure following the legislation available in their country of residence.
It is necessary to know that during a divorce procedure in Italy, the local judges will have the right to decide on matters such as the custody of the children (if the spouses have minor children), maintenance of the spouse who does not have sufficient financial funds, as well as the assignment of the property, in the case in which the spouses have minor children.
The Italian legislation protects the parent who has received the custody of the children and, in relation to this, the respective spouse can receive themarital property regardless if he or she owns it or not. However, this regulation is applicable only if at the moment when the divorce takes place, thechildren are minors. Our divorce lawyer in Italy can provide more information on the legislation regulating the division of assets in the case of a divorce. Plus, you can talk to us about the cost of a divorce in Italy.
What are the reasons for divorce in Italy?
The reasons for divorce in Italy which stipulate the manner in which Italian couples can file for divorce are stipulated by the following sources of law: the Law no. 898 of 1 December 1970, which was amended by the Law no. 436 of 1 August 1978, the Law no. 74 of 6 March 1987 and the Law no. 55 of 6 of May 2015, the most recently introduced law regarding the simplified divorce proceedings in Italy; our team of Italian lawyerscan offer in-depth information on newest divorce regulations.
The basic reasons that are prescribed by the civil legislation in Italy with regards to the right of filing for divorce refer to the following: legal separation, the annulment of the marriage, a new marriage of one of the spouses concluded in a foreign country, thenon-consummation of the marriage and the change of sex of one of the spouses.
When we refer to the legal separation, the parties can file for divorce if the legal separation was obtained by mutual consent or by the application made by one of the spouses, in the following conditions: after twelve months since the couple filed for legal separation in front of the local courts or in a period of six months, in the case in which the legal separation was obtained through mutual consent.
It must be noted that divorce in Italy can also be obtained due to legal matters that are prescribed by the Criminal Law. For instance, one of the spouses can file for divorce if the other spouse is convicted for a serious crime that took place after the wedding. If a spouse was accused and sentenced for a serious crime, the other spouse can file for divorce if the sentence is longer than 15 years or if the spouse was sentenced to life imprisonment.
What are the legal effects of divorce in Italy?
Regardless of the reason for which the married couple filed for divorce (or if one of the spouses filed for divorce), there are several legal effects that will take place, and they are divided in four main categories, as follows: legal effects with regards to the relations between the two former spouses, the division of the marital property, the custody of the minor children of the couple and the obligation to pay child alimony.
Depending on the particularities of a case, our team of lawyers in Italy can assist with in-depth legal advice on the rights and obligations the couple will have after the divorce;our experts can also provide legal representation in front of the Italian courts. With regards to the relation between the spouses after the divorce, it must be noted that the woman has the right to return to her maiden family name that she had prior to the marriage, if, once married, she took the name of the husband (a common practice in Italy).
However, she may keep it if she wants to do so, regardless of the reason. In the case in which the marriage is comprised by an Italian citizen and a foreign citizen who has acquired the Italian citizenship during the marriage, it must be noted that the latter will not lose his or her Italian citizenship after the dissolution of the marriage.
Another effect of a divorce in Italy is that the joint estate of the couple will be dissolved and divided between the parties as stipulated by the law. In the case in which the couple has minor children, the parent who will live with the child will most likely receive the right of living in the matrimonial home; more information on the rights of the minor children after the dissolution of the parents' marriage can be presented by our divorce lawyer in Italy and we invite you to request advice on any matter regulating the child’s rights. More about the cost of a divorce in Italy can be discussed with us.
How many divorces are registered in Italy?
The rate of divorces in Italy was influenced in the last decade due to the legal procedures that a couple had to follow. As a general rule, Italy has a low divorce rate compared to other developed countries, such as Germany, France or the United Kingdom, but its rate increased after the implementation of the law which eased the divorce procedures. With regards to the divorce statistics in Italy, we present the following:
in 2015, the number of divorces increased at 82,496, after the Fast-Track Divorce Law was implemented (as presented by the same institution);
compared to 2014, this accounted for a rise in the number of divorces of 57%;
in 2016, Italy registered 1.6 divorces per each 1,000 inhabitants;
this rate is lower compared to other similar countries – in Great Britain there were 1.7 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants in 2016, and 1.9 divorces in France;
the top reasons Italian couples divorce are related to betrayal or infidelity (21.5% of the divorces), the lack of feeling in love with the spouse (17.5%), violent or aggressive attitudes (13%), not getting along (13%) and physical distance (8.5%).
Are there any divorce rules for Italian civil partnerships?
Yes, the Italian legislation provides a legal framework for the dissolution of civil partnerships, which are recognized in this country under the Legislative Decrees No. 5 and No. 7 of 19th of January 2017. Under the new law, the Italian legislation also recognizes civil partnerships concluded between same-sex persons.
In the case in which the civil partnership is concluded between an Italian citizen and a foreign citizen, the Italian authorities have the right to dissolve the respective partnership; the same applies if the civil partnership was concluded in Italy.
The dissolution of a civil partnership in Italy can be done following the regulations available for divorce, as prescribed under the Regulation (EU) 1259/2010. Our team of lawyers in Italycan offer more information on the procedures that can be applied in the case of those wanting to end a civil partnership in this country.
Child custody in Italy
Italy is a party to the Hague Convention and complies with the Civil Code imposed by the European Union on child custody in the event of divorce. This involves the following:
The child has the right to interact with each parent separately, regardless of whether they live in other countries.
Usually, minors remain in the care of their mothers, but there is a possibility to live with their fathers.
The principle of double parenthood is respected in Italy.
Joint legal custody is allowed in Italy, and parents are responsible for the child's good upbringing, welfare, and education.
If the parents do not agree on the visiting days, the instant will be the one who will establish these aspects.
FAQ about divorce in Italy
Our divorce lawyer in Italy can answer a series of questions regarding the divorce procedure. To get an idea of the reasons for divorce in Italy, you can find out the following questions and answers.
1. What are the methods by which a couple can divorce in Italy?
Joint divorce in which the partners agree on the separation and contested divorce in case the two do not agree on the terms and conditions are the two methods by which the separation can be made. You can discuss with our divorce lawyer in Italy about the divorce procedure.
2. Can a marriage in Italy be annulled?
Yes, annulment of marriage is possible in Italy. If the couple considers that this marriage was a mistake, then it is possible to annul it.
3. Can Italian citizenship be lost after a divorce between an Italian and a foreign citizen?
No, citizenship is not lost in such cases, according to Italian laws regarding the divorce of a couple formed by an Italian citizen and one of another nationality. But more information, in this case, you can find out from our divorce lawyer in Italy.
4. What comes to the attention of the divorced couple in Italy?
The division of common property and custody of the children is discussed at the time of the separation of the two spouses. We remind you that the laws in Italy protect the rights of children in this country, regardless of their nationality. All these important aspects related to divorce, including child custody, can be detailed with our divorce lawyer in Italy.
5. Can the wife keep the family name of the ex-husband after a divorce in Italy?
There are no restrictions on keeping the name after divorce, but women have the option to return to the maiden name if they wish. But in order to keep the name of the ex-husband, his approval is needed. You can learn more about the cost of a divorce in Italy from our experts.
6. Where can minor children live after divorce in Italy?
In case of a divorce in Italy, the minor children stay with their mother in the house where they grew up until that moment. If the father is the parent who can offer more financially compared to the mother, then things can get complicated. You can learn more about Italian Divorce Law from our specialists.
7. Who pays alimony for minor children in the event of a divorce in Italy?
Attempting divorce in Italy also involves custody of children. The parent who moves out of the foster home and shares custody must consider alimony. This is established in the court by the competent authorities. We invite you to talk to a divorce lawyer in Italy for complete details.
8. What does legal separation in Italy entail?
Legal separation in Italy, according to Italian Divorce Law, involves couples who sign an agreement in this direction and who are going to divorce after a year. During this time, spouses can think about reconciliation and the chances of reconciliation, if they exist.
9. Who can represent the spouses in case of a divorce in Italy?
There can be many reasons for divorce in Italy, but it is important to mention that each husband can be represented by an Italian divorce lawyer. He/she has experience in this case and can explain all the legal aspects.
10. Can a divorce in Italy be challenged by one of the spouses?
Yes, if one of the spouses does not agree with the divorce in Italy, he/she can contest, with the help of a lawyer. You can rely on the legal advice offered by our divorce lawyer in Italy if you encounter this problem.
Those who want to find out more details on the procedures to end a marriage in Italy can contact our Italian law firm. Ourdivorce lawyer in Italy is prepared to handle a wide range of cases regulated under the Civil Code and can represents Italians, as well as foreigners seeking for legal advice.
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Francesco Dagnino is the founding partner of Lexia Avvocati and he is specialized in corporate law, securities regulations, investment services, asset management and regulation of financial institutions. He has an extensive expertise on mergers & acquisitions, private equity, real estate and venture capital transactions. Dagnino serves also as a vice-chairman of the Italian Shareholders' Rights Association (Associazione Italiana per l'Esercizio dei Diritti degli Azionisti - AIEDA). Contact us for details
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