In Italy, by means of the divorce agreement the spouses can agree upon a lump-sum alimony: consequently, the due amount shall be paid to the beneficiary spouse in one-off payment instead of by means of monthly instalments. Therefore, the lump-sum alimony is usually a huge amount of money: to make the calculation correctly, a certain specific experience is required, because many aspects and variables must be taken into consideration, because every case is different from any other. As a result, it is preferable to appoint an Italian qualified lawyer, specialized in Italian family law.
Who, for example, could request or pay a lump-sum alimony, getting a separation or a divorce pursuant to the Italian law:
- An Italian citizen and a foreign citizen, both residing not in Italy but abroad;
- Two Italian citizens, both residing not in Italy but abroad;
- Two foreign citizens, residing not in Italy but abroad and who got married in Italy or had lived in Italy or had decided to apply the Italian law;
- An Italian citizen and a foreign citizen, both residing in Italy;
- Two Italian citizens, both residing in Italy;
- Two foreign citizens, both residing in Italy.
The spouses, in order to evaluate the advantages that they could get, need to be advised to learn all the allowed possibilities pursuant to the Italian law, above all from an economic standpoint.
It is undisputable that the lump-sum alimony may firstly represent an economic disbursement of a certain importance. It is assumed a quite good liquidity, maybe accumulated during many working years. However, this theory may be the more exact in some specific situations.
We may consider the case in which the wife is a successful entrepreneur who is thinking to expand her business also abroad. On the contrary, the husband has always showed his lack of concreteness concerning the research of a job position, and this lack of concreteness has not allowed him to build during the years a solid financial economic situation. During the marriage, he has also lived thanks to the private income of the wife, who supported him adequately. At the moment of divorce, the ex-wife could be afraid that the ex-husband could request some increases, so to benefit from the professional successes of the ex-wife or, in case of a decrease of income, so to benefit from her incomes.
Lump-sum alimony pursuant to the Italian law
Contrary to the periodic method of payment (assegno), the lump-sum method of payment automatically backs out the spouse who pays of any possible adjustment requests. The beneficiary spouse, therefore – in the case above mentioned the husband – shall not file new adjustment economic requests as well as shall not modify the terms already agreed. Practically, he shall no more request any further sum with respect to the sum already received. Furthermore, he shall also lose his right to receive a quota of the severance indemnity due to the wife, to receive the wife’s retirement benefits and (where applicable in case of wife’s death) to receive possible quota of wife’s inheritance (the only exception would be an amount due as sustenance).
On the other hand, the beneficiary spouse shall be able to cash in immediately a huge amount of money or to benefit from other methods of financial increases, and no personal event shall be able to influence the terms already agreed (accordo). The ex-husband shall hence carry out a new civil marriage or shall newly get married with another woman, and each one of these decisions would have no influence on the lump-sum already received.
Another interesting matter concerning the lump-sum alimony is referred to the possibility for the obliged person to request an adjustment of her/his obligation. Generally speaking, the adjustment of the amount of the alimony cannot be requested by the beneficiary, while in some cases the adjustment can be requested by the obliged person. In case of a worsening of the economic situation of the obliged person, the spouse who had already paid the lump-sum alimony could request a modification of the terms and conditions agreed during the divorce civil proceeding and could even request the alimony: this is a possibility, which quite often could be ruled out, but it may be useful to know it.
What is surely ruled out is the possibility for the spouse, who pays the lump-sum alimony, to deduct the respective cost with reference to the yearly declarations of income: the possibility of a deduction of costs is set forth under Italian law only in case of recurring payments concerning periods in which the spouse is residing in Italy. In any other cases, any possible fiscal benefits shall be evaluated pursuant to the respective applicable law.
Overall, finally, the lump-sum alimony may be the more convenient solution for a spouse who disposes of a certain sum of money because, even if in the short-term period it may represent a huge expense, in the long term period it allows the paying spouse to avoid any possible economic “requests” by the respective ex-spouse.
In any case, it is a choice that has to be agreed by the spouses and that has to be examined by the Court, whose task will be to verify if the amount of the alimony agreed by the parties is a fair amount.
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.