In Italy, the fact that the parents are separated, even if they belong to different religions, generally speaking it does not entail any consequences concerning the assignment of children in Italy. If the foreign husband and wife have doubts they have to appoint an Italian qualified lawyer specialized in family law.
In Italy two separated (separati) or divorced (divorziati) parents that belong to different religions do not risk of suffering any consequences concerning the assignment (affidamento) of children: as a general rule, the Court grants the shared custody (affidamento condiviso), provided that the presence of no risks for the minors is proved.
When husband and wife are either both foreigners, or one of the two is married with an Italian citizen or their country of origin is different, they have to evaluate, with the legal advice of an Italian lawyer specialized in family law, what is the applicable law to the concrete case when they have children. Like that, they can be guided concerning the application of the Italian law or concerning the comparison between the Italian law and the foreign applicable law.
When the religion may cause disagreements in Italy
In order to understand when the religion in Italy could cause disagreements within a separation (separazione) or a divorce (divorzio) legal proceeding, a concrete example can be written, imagining a mixed couple ready to separate. Husband and wife have always belonged to two different religions, and this fact has never been cause of disagreement until then but, during the crisis, practising two different religions may increase problems already occurred. The husband becomes suspicious concerning some specific rituals and customs as well as concerning some point of view about possible medical treatments suggested by the wife. The most faithful believers, indeed, refuse blood transfusions and transplants of organs, with the concrete risk of putting at risk, in case of serious emergencies, their same lives. The wife, furthermore, has brought a significant change concerning their customs and habits closing suddenly any relation with long-standing friend, so to be able to spend all her free time only with her friends at the confraternity.
The couple has some very young children; therefore, the behaviour of the wife scares the husband, who is afraid that the wife could influence and put at risk their children’s life. That’s why he would prefer that the children could live with him.
The religion: a free choice defended by the Italian Constitution
The religious faith is an expression of the distinctiveness of every person, it represents a free choice and, for itself, it is defended by the Italian Constitution. To profess a specific faith represents a legit decision, to which no one could stand opposite. For this reason, during the legal separation proceeding, the religion cannot be a mere discriminating factor, based on which to decide to whom assign (affidare) children or with whom they could live (collocare). Only if during the legal separation proceeding before the Italian competent Court is proved that the religious customs and habits practised by the parent may create psychological, physical or educational damages to the minors, this parent can risk of losing the assignment or the custody of the children.
The chances of the husband to obtain that the children could live with him (collocazione), therefore, depend on the fact that he may be able to prove, during the legal proceeding, that the conversion of the wife constitutes concretely a risk factor for the children. Or that, due to the new religious faith of the mother, the minors are forced to change radically their standard of life, their habits and social relations, which may cause on them confusion, turmoil and relationship difficulties. The mere religion of the mother and the possible difficulty to reconcile the different ideological beliefs between husband and wives shall not be enough for the father to obtain that the children will live only with him.
Marzorati Law Firm is specialised in family law, also internationally, and its lawyers usually deal with separations, divorces, child support and family support. To advise all its clients all over Italy and worldwide, Marzorati Law Firm has also developed a network, made also of at least a barrister/solicitor, an attorney-at-law, an abogado, and an avocat à la cour, all qualified in their respective country of practice.