VGS Family Lawyers is a firm specialised in controversies and agreements about Alimony.

Alimony has a great importance in the Italian legal system. Indeed the lack to pay alimony may also implicate a criminal liability and either if you are seeking assistance in receiving your fair share of alimony or if you are not paying them because you feel they are unproportionate to your income, then you need to find a specialised lawyer to represent you. VGS Family Lawyers has a Divorce Team able to assist you and to negotiate for you, the possible best terms, amicably or before the competent court.

Definition and Ratio

Article 143 of Italian Civil Code governs the mutual financial support between spouses that finds its main reason on the duty of moral and material assistance to each of the spouses.

The communion of both intentions and of substance is – in fact – the fundamental characteristic of the Italian marriage, which is distinguishable from any other type of agreement with contractual nature.

Hence, the law takes into consideration the duty to contribute to the needs of the family; aiming especially to maintenance and growth of the children.

In particular, the legal definition of the term “alimony” suggests a regular amount of money that a law court orders a spouse to pay to his or her partner after a divorce or separation.

In detail, article 156 of the Italian Civil Code establishes the obligation to pay the maintenance allowance to the separated spouse without adequate income.

Separation and Alimony

In the event of a legal separation, duties like moral assistance and collaboration between spouses are suspended; but material assistance duty still remains active.

Then, that spouse with no income who is not able to fulfil to his/her needs will receive a previously established maintenance allowance. The granted payment is made on periodic basis (often on a monthly basis) and, unless otherwise stated,it amounts to a single sum of money.

As mentioned, the main condition for alimony is the lack of an adequate income. Then, “adequate” refers to an income that is autonomously produced by the spouse that is in line with the living standard adopted during the marriage.

However, although the aforementioned economic conditions might be present; the maintenance allowance is not due to the spouse who has been charged with the separation.

Divorce and Alimony

In the context of divorce, alimony has the same function of material assistance and it is paid to the neediest spouse when the marriage bond ceases definitively with the divorce decree. On the one hand, family breakdown implies the need to intervene toward the spouse in economic difficulty but on the other hand, the divorce will strongly affect the rigidity in determining the right value of the allowance.

Until very recently, Italian jurisprudence used to identify the main parameter for maintenance allowance determination in the standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marital status.

Today, therefore – in the assessment of the maintenance allowance – the Divorce Judge must focus his own attention on the possible independence or economic self-sufficiency of the former spouse who requests the alimony. As a consequence, if the investigation over applicant’s income, assets, capacity, actual job opportunities, and stable availability of a dwelling house will ascertain its economic independence he/she will not be entitled to any alimony.

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