How to contest a divorce judgment in Italy

How to contest a divorce judgment in Italy

Divorce can be a difficult process, with many disputes and disagreements that can escalate in court. This often happens when spouses fail to reach a reasonable agreement on the terms and conditions of separation and subsequent divorce, which can include aspects such as spousal and child support, the assignment of the family home and other assets. However, even when a divorce judgment is issued, it may not be satisfactory to one or both parties in terms of the regulation of family and property relations. In these cases, one may contest the judgment of divorce, a process that is typically done through an appeal that follows the ordinary rules of the Code of Civil Procedure. The law on divorce states that either spouse can contest the decision, as there is no real “loser” in the case as there is in ordinary civil cases. Additionally, the public prosecutor is authorized to contest the judgment with regards to the financial interests of minor or legally incapacitated children.

The appeal must be filed within 30 days if the judgment has been notified, or within six months if it has not been notified. The date of publication of the judgment, which coincides with the date of deposit at the court registry, is the starting point for both deadlines. The only exception is for appeals that can be immediately lodged against a non-definitive judgment of divorce, where the judge has declared the dissolution or cessation of the civil effects of marriage and ordered the continuation of the trial to determine spousal support.

The appeal process is conducted in a private hearing, or camera di consiglio, rather than a public hearing. This means that requests that would require an ordinary hearing, such as asset division or a claim for damages, cannot be introduced. The appeal is made in the form of a petition and is deposited at the court registry. Once a date has been set, the petition must be served on the other party. Typically, the appeal process is conducted in a single hearing, though in exceptional cases, the court may decide to conduct additional investigations. At the end of the process, the court issues a decision, which may confirm or modify the initial judgment.

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