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What’s the difference between divorcing in England and Italy?

English family law differs under many aspects from Italian family law. If you are to choose between the two jurisdictions it could be helpful to keep in mind these principal differences:

  • In Italy you can obtain a divorce only after you have obtained a legal separation. You can file for divorce after one year from the separation decree - in case of a judicial separation - or after 6 months - in case of a consensual separation.
  • In Italy you cannot file only for divorce. If there are any related matters, such as children arrangements and/or financial provisions to make, the application for divorce must deal with these matters at the same time and within the same proceedings.
  • The Italian Judge in divorce proceedings have limited powers - compared to the English Judge - in terms of financial orders. Where the English courts can make various provisions for the family assets, the Italian courts can only make spousal maintenance orders and children maintenance orders.
  • The Italian jurisdiction does not recognise prenuptial agreements. However, they are sometimes considered valid and enforceable by the Italian courts, depending on the terms of the agreement itself.
  • The Italian jurisdiction provides matrimonial regimes which are available to the spouses. The spouses can choose between communion of assets or separation of assets. This choice is highly important at the time of divorce.

For more information, see The International Comparative Legal Guide - Family Law 2021, with contributions from top divorce solicitor, Maria Fiorito.

The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.

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