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Review of EU and Italian Divorce Law

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Living in a cross-cultural relationshipItalian Divorce law

Italian Divorce Law is one of the frequent questions our clients address to our law firm. Many of them and many friends and family members, in fact, are part of a cross-cultural relationship and for the most part it is an enriching and beautiful experience but it can also difficult to manage.

When it comes to marriage and children it is wise to speak to experts, both for emotional support and legal support. Regrettably, international separations and divorces are becoming more common.

Obviously, people don’t enter in to married life thinking about where the best location for a divorce would be. However, where couples choose to divorce can have a major impact on both parties’ financial health, so getting it right is very important. Delays in deciding this could result in a disastrous outcome. Read more

The Law of Economic Relationship between Foreign Married Couples Resident in Italy

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Foreign Married Couples Resident in ItalyThis article deals with the issue of the choice of law ruling the economic relationship between foreign married couples resident in Italy.

Matrimonial regime in Italy, “Regime patrimoniale coniugale” in Italian, is governed by Italian Civil Code. Italian law no. 218 of the 1995 amendment reforming international private law, determines applicable law.

Concerning the economic relationship between married couples, if they have the same nationality, the national law of the two partners will be enforced. Read more

EU Succession Regulation: European Certificate of Succession

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Brussels IV

Since August 2015, a major step to facilitate cross-border successions has been the adoption of new EU rules which make it easier for people to handle European Certificate of Successionthe legal aspects of an international succession. This major step is known as Brussels IV, Regulation (EU) No 650/2012. Amongst other things, Brussels IV introduced a European Certificate of Succession (ECS). This document is issued by the relevant authority dealing with the succession and heirs, legatees, executors of Wills and administrators of the estate can use it to prove their status and exercise their rights or powers in other EU Member States. Read more

Italy Referendum

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Italy’s Referendum

Italy’s Constitutional Reform Referendum

On 4th December Italy goes to the polls: a constitutional referendum is going to give Italians the chance to choose whether to accept or reject the constitutional reform bill approved by Parliament and proposed by Matteo Renzi’s centre-left government. The constitutional reform is one of the most elaborate and ambitious reform bills ever to be put forward in Italy. The outcome, according to latest polls, is too close to call. Some of our readers have asked us what the Italy’s referendum is all about, so in today’s blog post, we attempt to address the key issues and impacts.

Italy ReferendumWhat is Italy voting for?

Currently, Italian laws need to be approved by both houses of the Italian parliament: The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. This “bicameral” system pits the state against the regions, which frequently leads to delay or scuppering of new laws, and undermines the stability of the Italian government. Read more

Possible effects of ‘Brexit’ on pensions for UK nationals living in Italy

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Possible effects of ‘Brexit’ on pensions for UK nationals living in Italy

Brexit Referendum

brexit

In his first words since accepting the result of the Brexit referendum (if you were looking for Italy’s Referendum, click here) on Friday, Mr Johnson wrote in 27th June’s edition of The Telegraph that, “EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU”.

His column said: “The only change – and it will not come in any great rush – is that the UK will extricate itself from the EU’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation: the vast and growing corpus of law enacted by a European Court of Justice from which there can be no appeal.” Read more

UK property purchasers in Italy after Brexit

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Review of Italian and EU Divorce Law

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An introduction to Italian and EU Divorce Law

Many of our clients, friends and family members are part of a cross-cultural relationship and for the most part it is an enriching and beautiful experience but it can also difficult to manage. When it comes to marriage and children it is wise to speak to experts both for emotional support and legal support. Regrettably, international separations and divorces are becoming more common. Italian and EU Divorce Law

Obviously, people don’t enter in to married life thinking about where the best location for a divorce would be. However, where couples choose to divorce can have a major impact on both parties’ financial health, so getting it right is very important. Delays in deciding this could result in a disastrous outcome.

Changes to Italian Divorce Law

In May, 2015 Italy introduced the so-called ‘quickie divorce’ law, which cut the amount of time it takes to get a divorce from three years to as little as six months. The new Italian legislation cuts the time it takes to get a divorce to six months in uncontested cases and a year in contested cases.

While the new law still retains a two-step process – separation and divorce – there are three important changes:

  1. In the case of separazione consensuale – consensual separation – requested by both partners, the period of legal separation is now six months. After the six-month separation, which begins once the couple has filed an application for separation in court, the couple may file for divorce.
  2. In the case of separazione giudiziale – judicial separation – only one partner is requesting a divorce, or the couple contest issues such as child custody, division of assets (including property) or alimony arrangements, the parties have to wait 12 months to file for divorce following a court application for separation. If the procedure of separation is still pending following the 12-month period, perhaps for example because parties cannot agree on financial and other aspects of the separation, each party will be entitled to file for divorce. In this case, the processes for separation and divorce will be merged and handled by the judge appointed to rule over the judicial separation.
  3. The new law is applicable to separation cases that are currently pending. So, those who have already filed for separation will benefit from shorter divorce procedure times.

The European Union Divorce Law

The EU Divorce Law Pact or Rome III Regulation aims at implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation.  Essentially, this EU divorce law allows expat couples in Italy – and mixed marriage couples, where one partner is Italian and the other not – to choose either the divorce laws of Italy, or the laws of the country where the couple previously lived or the country of their nationality. The decision of which country’s law will apply, needs to be made before divorce proceedings begin.

The Rome III Regulation was adopted by 15 countries including Italy. The UK opted out – so

If a couple does not stipulate an applicable country law, divorce procedures will be governed by Italian courts and legislation if a couple is ordinarily resident in Italy or one partner is resident in Italy and starts proceedings here. However, if the other partner, for example, returns to the UK for six months or more and starts proceedings there before Italian proceedings begin, UK courts and law will govern the divorce.

Another aspect to consider in the choice of divorce law is matrimonial regimes. UK courts often split assets owned by a couple 50/50, whereas Italian courts look more closely at what belongs to whom. This is because when they get married, couples in Italy may choose between a matrimonial regime of shared ownership, comunione dei beni or separate ownership separazione dei beni of their worldly goods in the event of divorce or death.

Unless otherwise stipulated in an agreement, which can be made at the start of a marriage or at any time during a marriage, comunione dei beni is regarded as the default matrimonial regime. Expat couples married elsewhere but resident in Italy are regarded as being married according to this regime. In the comunione dei beni regime, property acquired by the couple during their marriage, whether individually or together, forms part of the couples’ shared ownership. In the event of a divorce, these assets will be split 50/50.

However, there are exceptions. For example, property acquired by a partner prior to the marriage, or property acquired after the marriage as a gift or an inheritance would not be split in the case of a divorce. The choice of matrimonial regimes can therefore have an important impact on choice of applicable law.

Consider the case of an English couple who married in the UK 12 years ago. Since then, the wife has inherited a significant sum of money as well as a house in Italy from her parents. 4 years ago, the husband persuaded the wife that they should move to Italy to live in the wife’s inherited property. Then, after 12 months, the husband moved back to the UK where he issued divorce proceedings. The UK court gave the husband 50% of all the couples’ assets. The Italian courts would have treated the inherited assets as belonging solely to the wife.

Each case is different. There are many issues that need to be taken in to account and at a very stressful time. Which applicable law to choose, requires very careful thought and consideration. An Experienced lawyer will be familiar with cross-border cases, and the complexities which make these divorces so difficult.

Please note, any statement made in this review is intended to be a general practical introductory explanation only and not formal legal advice. This firm accepts no liability or any responsibility for any statement made.

Contact us today. We can help.

Cross-Border Inheritance Law (Brussel IV)

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Cross-Border Inheritance Law. How Does New EU Succession Legislation Impact You?

This article looks at the new EU Law 650/2012, also known as the Brussels IV Regulation, which came in to effect on 17th August 2015.

Although the UK, Denmark and Ireland have opted out of participating in Brussels IV, there are still implications for nationals of these countries who reside in a participating EU Member State or have a connection to a participating EU Member State, for example a holiday home.

Cross-Border Inheritance LawPrior to the introduction of Brussels IV, each EU jurisdiction applied its own rules to govern the devolution of individuals’ property. For individuals with assets in more than one country, various Connecting Factors were considered such as domicile, residence, nationality or habitual residence, in order to determine which country laws should apply to an individual’s estate. In addition, for some EU states, applicable succession law depended upon whether the assets were immovable (property and land) or movable (bank accounts, vehicles, furniture, jewellery and so on). The fact that each jurisdiction applied different Connecting Factors often led to costly, lengthy and complex conflicts of laws. Read more

Brexit Jitters?

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brexitAbout 26,000 British nationals are registered in Italy, according to Italy’s National Institute of Statistics. The British embassy in Rome believes the true number of British residents in Italy is double that.

A significant fear for those concerned about Britain leaving the EU is the potential mass exodus of both Europeans and Britons from each other’s respective nations. In 2015, former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve claimed that: “… EU exit would make 2 million Britons abroad illegal immigrants overnight.” Read more

Italian and EU International Divorces

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Italian and EU Divorce Law

Across much of the European Union, marriages between couples of different nationalities, are on the rise. In addition, the number of married couples living as expats in another EU country is increasing. Unfortunately, this means that international separations and divorces are becoming more common.

Obviously, people don’t enter into married life thinking about where the best location for a divorce would be; married couples are unlikely to be interested in thinking about this while they remain happy together, and couples may not be able to agree on the appropriate jurisdiction if they are about to be or are already separated. However, where couples choose to divorce can have a major impact on both parties’ financial health, so getting it right is crucial. Read more