Italian Divorce Law

Like in the United Kingdom, marriage breakdowns are extremely common in Italy. However, an Italian divorce can be complex as there are many other important aspects of Italian law which are included in the divorce process, making it a stressful situation for all those involved.

It is therefore essential that you have an Italian divorce specialist who can advise you on the legalities and technicalities of a divorce in Italy.  

Italian Divorce Contents

Process for an Italian divorce

In order to get a divorce in Italy, the marriage must have taken place in Italy or one of the spouses must be a resident of Italy.

In order to apply for divorce the parties would personally need to appear in court where they would be given a choice to either reconcile or separation for one year.  

There are two types of divorce that can be granted in Italy:

Consensual separation

This type of Italian divorce takes place when there is mutual agreement between both spouses, and this is then approved by the Italian family law court.

The process for a consensual separation requires you to submit a joint divorce to the Italian court following which there would be a hearing. Throughout the hearing, a judge will attempt to reconcile the couple. Similar to mediation in the UK, you must be able to prove that reconciliation is not possible before being granted the documents to prove a separation. This is known as Assisted Negotiation. Any agreement reached through this negotiation is approved by the Court but no hearing is required to approve this.

If applicable in the hearing, the judge will also assess the financial situation of both spouses and consider whether the financially weaker partner will need to be protected. This is often referred to as spousal maintenance or support.

Judicial separation

Unlike a consensual divorce, a judicial separation occurs when spouses contest the divorce and are unable to reach an agreement. In this case following the submission of divorce hearings and discussions take place. Within these hearings and discussions, the judge would reach an agreement and determines the spouse who is responsible for the failure of the marriage.

The legal separation in Italy is temporary as the purpose of this is to ensure the joint assets of spouses are divided and the cohabitation is not interrupted. It does not terminate the marriage itself. During the separation period the parties try to agree the personal and financial circumstances, the issue of the family home and custody of any children.

How long does it take for Divorce In Italy?

Initially it would take 3 years to complete a divorce process in Italy, however following reforms in Italy the divorce process has been fast tracked to 6 months in uncontested matters and a year in contested divorce.

Separation is Italy is not based on a fault system, however if one spouse successfully blames the other spouse for the breakdown then this could affect maintenance.

Children following Italian Divorce

In Italy the Mother is usually given custody of the children, however the parties can agree access for the father. Upon reaching the age of 10 the child can then decide for themselves on which parent they wish to reside with.

Italian divorces in the UK

It is common for Italian couples to commence divorce proceedings in the UK rather than Italy given the Italian divorce process can be complicated and initially the process could take up to 5 years.

In order to obtain an Italian divorce in the UK the following apply:

  • Both spouses must currently be living within England or Wales
  • At least one spouse lives in England or Wales if you’re applying for a joint application
  • Either spouse has lived in England or Wales for a minimum of six months before applying to get an Italian divorce in the UK

Please note our family law experts do not provide advice on law in Italy however if you are based in the UK or have ties in the UK then you may want to consider your options of pursuing a divorce in UK over Italy; this may allow you to secure a more favourable outcome.

Arrange a consultation with our Family Law Specialists today

To discuss your options today, get in touch with our team of experts. With our experience in solving complex spousal maintenance disputes and organising fair payments for both parties, we’re sure that we can help you. Did you know as well covering nationally that we have family lawyers in Fulham as well as across York, Manchester and London.