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Italy: Summary Divorce Proceedings Revised

(May 20, 2015) On May 26, 2015, new legislation amending the procedural rules on the declaration of a divorce will enter into effect in Italy. (Law No. 55 of May 6, 2015, Provisions on the Dissolution or Cessation of the Civil Effects of Marriage as well as Cohabitation Between Spouses [Law No. 55], GAZETTA UFFICIALE [G. U.] No. 107 (May 11, 2015), NORMATTIVA (in Italian).)

Law No. 55 reduces the statutory period for the declaration of divorce from three years to 12 months from the date of the appearance of the couple before the president of the court in which the separation proceedings are held, even if a contentious trial becomes a consensual proceeding. (Law No. 55, art. 1(1), amending Law No. 898 of Dec. 1, 1970, art. 3(2), G. U. No. 306 (Dec. 3, 1970), NORMATTIVA (in Italian).) In cases of consensual separation proceedings, the statutory period for declaration of a divorce is always six months. (Law No. 55, art. 1(1).)

Amending the Civil Code, Law No. 55 establishes that in the case of separation, cohabitation between the spouses legally ceases from the moment at which the president of the court authorizes the spouses to live separately or from the date on which the spouses sign the minutes of separation by mutual consent before the court president and the president approves such minutes. The judicial order authorizing the separation or approving the spouses’ agreement to separation is communicated to the civil registry authorities for registration. (Id. art. 2(1).)

The new rules also apply to separation proceedings underway on the date of entry into effect of Law No. 55, that is, on May 26, 2015. (Id. art. 2(1).)