How to file for a divorce in Italy

In Italy, divorce was introduced by Law no. 898 of 1970. After the amendment of 2015, now divorce can go through a long or short procedure, depending on the role of the parties. Before the divorce, the parties must obtain separation first. If the separation was consensual, the divorce can be filed after 6 months. If the separation was judicial, the divorce can be filed after 1 year.


Where both spouses are Italian citizens, Italian courts have jurisdiction whether or not the spouses are resident in Italy. Jurisdiction is determined on the basis of the last common residence of the spouses or of the defendant spouse.       If one of the spouses is not Italian or not residing in Italy, the determination of jurisdiction is based mainly on the date of the submission of the application within the EU. Exceptions to this rule depend on some requirements and when the case involves the best interests of the child. A foreign decision declaring a divorce is enforceable in Italy without the need for any further proceeding, if certain requirements are met.

Divorce procedure

Once the necessary time limit has passed (6 months or 1 year), divorce can be filed by mutual consent or separately:

  1. Consensual divorce: it is filed by both spouses. In this case, the process will be brief and will consist of a single hearing;
  2. Judicial divorce: it is filed by only one spouse. The process will be long, as both spouses will need to be heard.

In both cases, the judge may order a mediation attempt at the beginning of the procedure. The divorce decision determines the terms, such as child custody and alimony, if any. These terms can always be changed by submitting a new petition for changing the terms of the divorce.

Once the judgement of divorce is issued, the marital bond is dissolved. This determines certain civil effects: the wife must give up the surname of the husband and the parties can marry again.

The decisive factor in obtaining a divorce is showing that the spiritual and material communion that once existed between the spouses has disappeared and can no longer be rebuilt.

A specialized divorce lawyer is needed for filing a divorce in Italy.  VGS Family Lawyers has a solid experience in international divorce cases and we can assist our clients through all the procedure.

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