Regime patrimoniale coniugale
This article deals with the issue of the choice of law ruling the economic relationship between foreign married couples and registered partners in Italy.
Italian law no. 218 of 1995 contains an amendment reforming international private law determining applicable law to matrimonial regimes in Italy.
Regarding the economic relationship between married couples, if they have the same nationality, the national law of the two partners is applicable.
Where spouses have two different nationalities, the law of the State where the marriage took place is applicable.
In Italy, couples may choose between two matrimonial regimes: regime of community of assets “comunità dei beni” and separation of assets “separazione dei beni”.
Couples can make a notarised agreement when they marry or at a later stage to determine which regime is applicable. However, in the absence of a choice, Italian family law provides that the community of assets regime is the default.
Italian property purchases: foreign married couples and registered partners in Italy
Non-Italian couples may make an agreement when they purchase a property in Italy – should they wish the ownership of the property to be in the name of only one spouse.
Decisions regarding matrimonial regimes can play a key role in the event of divorce or death. They can therefore have important and far-reaching consequences.
Pursuant to article 159 of the Italian Civil Code, in the absence of a notarised agreement between spouses, the default matrimonial regime will be that of community of assets.
Married couples and registered partners. Who owns what in a community of assets?
A community of assets regime means that both partners own certain assets jointly. These include:
– Purchases made by the spouses together or separately during their marriage.
– Businesses opened and managed by both spouses after their marriage.
– Profits generated by a business belonging to either spouse.
Certain items of personal property are not included in the Italian community of assets regime:
– Goods belonging to each spouse prior to their marriage.
– Property acquired during the marriage through a personal gift or inheritance.
– Personal items used by spouses.
– Goods or finances obtained as compensation for damages.
A community of assets regime means a property belongs to a couple in equal parts …
Whereas, if the couple opts for a separation of assets regime, it is possible to register a property in the name of just one spouse or partner.
In order to do this, a couple can choose a separation of assets regime at the time of, or after their marriage. This means foreign nationals married elsewhere, but resident in Italy can decide, at any time during their marriage or registered partnership, to elect to have their economic relationship governed by Italian law.
If foreign married couples resident in Italy decide to regulate their economic affairs according to Italian law, they will have to do it through a written agreement in the form of a public deed in the presence of an Italian public notary.
Before purchasing a property in Italy, it is worth considering your economic relationship. Each case depends on personal circumstances.
Buying an Italian property represents a major investment for most people. To ensure you protect your investment, you should therefore always seek independent legal advice. Why not get in touch with us to discuss your situation?
You may also be interested in Cross Border Property rules: Marriages & Partnerships.
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