Italian Divorce: new former wife’s cohabitation does not exclude alimony
The Italian Court of Cassation has stated (Sentence N. 32198/2021) that in the event former wife has started a domestic partnership with another man, she is still entitled to alimony as they serve a compensation purpose.
According to the Italian Law, alimony in favour of the former spouse may cease only in the event the spouse will be newly married. Therefore, what if in case of domestic cohabitation?
The Court of Cassation has confirmed that Italian alimony serves two purposes: compensatory and economic assistance. In presence of a new stable partnership, the economic assistance purpose is replaced by the new relationship. However, the compensatory purpose of alimony does not cease to operate. In fact, the compensatory purpose aims to compensate the spouse for the sacrifice made and for contributing to the family. Therefore, in the event the spouse has sacrificed her life for the family, the compensatory purpose of alimony is still valid. In this case, it is relevant that the former spouse may prove her contribution to the family such as her renounce to job offer and the activities made to contribute to the familiar community.
The Court has thus confirmed the absence of a legal automatism that shall stop alimony in presence of a new stable partnership. This is not foreseen by Italian Law and it is in open contrast with the compensatory purpose of alimony. The new stable partnership may affect alimony in terms of the amount to be paid so that the payment shall only reflect the compensatory purpose.
Under previous circumstances, the Court has declared that new relationships does not void alimony payment and there is no such a legal automatism that stop alimony payment. In fact, given the double nature of Italian alimony procedure, in some provable cases, the former spouse will be entitle to receive alimony only based on her contribution and sacrifices in relation to previous familiar life.