Marital responsibilities and economic and familiar consequences of a wedding are relevant to anybody who has decided to take forward his/her marriage relationship. In details, it is important to slightly highlight the main steps spouses shall undertake in the event of the interruption of the marital relationship.


The following guideline aims to indicate main steps of divorce/separation procedure in Italy.



1) Spouses may realize their marriage and their marital relationship are close to an end.


According to Italian Law, both spouses may agree to divorce whenever they have the certainty or the deep conviction that marital relationship has come to an end. Italian law states that spouses shall undertake a separation period.



2) Is there a required period of separation? How to proceed through the separation period?


The only legal ground to obtain a divorce is a legal separation first. Separation can be obtained without specific reasons; it is sufficient to claim that parties feel unrecoverable breakdown of the marriage.  Italian Law describes two types of separations: consensual separation that is obtained by mutual consent allows starting divorce procedure after six months. On the other hand, judicial separation only allows divorce procedure to be started after twelve months.


3) Is there a general timescale for divorce and separation?


·      Consensual/Uncontested separation and divorce


o   Spouses shall submit to the Court a proposed separation/divorce agreement;

o   Judge scheduled a hearing during which – under certain circumstances – may ratify the arrangement;

o   Procedure lasts approximately 6 months;


·      Judicial/Contested separation and divorce


o   One spouse summons the other spouse to the Court;

o   The Judge undertake interim orders with the purpose of addressing first and most urgent issues;

o   The procedure is continued through a set of hearings according to traditional Italian Procedural Law (discovery phases, witnesses contribution, financial evaluation)






4) Jurisdiction Grounds for Italian divorce


According to EU regulations, spouses’ habitual residence is the main ground to determine the jurisdiction. In details, Italian Courts tend to confirm jurisdiction in Italy when:


·      Spouses are or were habitually resident in Italy;

·      In the event of a joint application, either of the spouses is habitually resident;

·      The applicant is habitually resident if he/she resided there for at least one year before the application;



5) Child Custody and spouses’ responsibility?


Under regime of divorce or separation, spouses are both responsible for their children. In details, the default regime is the shared custody whereby both spouses have visiting rights but the children will reside with only one parent. Each parent has full custody of the children during the time with them.


Only in the event of problems affecting spouses’ capability to take care of their parental responsibility may suggest the Court to decide for an exclusive custody regime. The other spouse will always file an appeal to the Court in case of disagreement.


6) What factors lead Court’s order in relation to Children?


Courts only decide in the best interest of the children. This interest is deemed more relevant than personal and economic issues. For this reason, Judges shall carefully hear judicial divorce and appropriately interpret minor’s interests.


7) Custodial parents duties?


Custodial parent cannot relocate children abroad without authorisation of the Court or a shared agreement with the other spouse. Only in case of a exclusive custody regime, the custodial parent may relocate the child.


VGS lawyers professional are perfectly able to assist you in every stage of your separation/divorce agreements. Our Lawyers have achieved brilliant results negotiating the best condition for our clients. Our specialised family lawyers have a wider set of experiences and skills that allow us to provide better assistance to our clients.


Should you need any information in relation to this matter, please contact us through the online form you find in our website. You will receive a first answer within the next 24 hours.