How does Italian family law work?

Italian family law has seen many reforms in recent decades. For example, law permits abortion since 1978 but, from the other side, same-sex marriages are still forbidden.

Among the principles expressed in the Italian Constitution of 1948, the Article 31 says that:

“The Republic assists, through economic measures and other provisions, in the formation of the family and the fulfillment of its duties, with particular regard for large families.

It protects maternity, infancy and youth, promoting the institutions necessary for such purposes.”

Moreover, in the article 29 we can find that:

“The Republic recognizes the rights of the family as a natural society founded on matrimony. Matrimony is based on the moral and legal equality of the spouses within the limits established by law to guarantee the unity of the family.”

Marriage is the fundamental requirement to grant families full protection in particular to children. Notwithstanding, the Republic protects children born out of wedlock and their mothers.

The number of unmarried couples has increased dramatically and the necessity of granting them some form of protection has become irrefutable. However, over 75 per cent of Italian weddings are performed in churches.

The Italian Civil Code, the procedural code and the related statutes regulate civil and religious marriages, annulment, separation and divorce. It is a complicated document that can only be interpreted by a good Italian Lawyer.

Catholic marriage requires both parties to be baptized and confirmed Catholics, as well as to attend the pre-matrimonial course. Couples must choose between shared or separate ownership of their worldly goods in the event of divorce. So pre-nuptial agreements in Italy should also be dealt with careful consideration.

The legal separation in Italy is temporary and does not break up the marriage, but divides the legal communion. Italian divorce is the legal dissolution of the bonds of matrimony.

Divorces are complex issues in Italy and have been possible only since 1970. The marriage should have taken place in Italy or one of the spouses should be Italian or an Italian resident. Sometimes foreign law may take precedence over Italian law even if one of the spouses is Italian. Couples divorcing by consent generally wait three years to be divorced but contested divorces must wait five and even cost many thousands of euros. A judge usually offers the spouses either to reconciliate or to formally separate for one year.

The mother is usually given the custody of the children, with access for the father. Once the children reach the age of ten, they can decide which parent they want to live with.

T<span “=”” style=”line-height: 14.95px;”>he Hague Convention of October 25, 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, a multilateral treaty that provides children the protection from the harmful effects of abduction, entered into force in Italy with the law No. 64 of January 15, 1994 (Implementation Act of the European Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of October 25, 1980).

Following ratification, the Convention entered into force in Italy on May 1, 1995. The Central Office for Juvenile Justice at the Ministry of Justice has been designated the Italian Central Authority.

An Italian law firm is often necessary for both types of divorce and every kind of legal family issue, as well as all the related to children adoption, abduction, custody, and so on.