In Italy, during the separation and divorce proceeding, the evaluation of alimony (assegno di mantenimento), pursuant to the Italian law, is carried out by the competent Court in accordance with some specific rules, analysing the economic situation of the requesting spouse. If husband and wife are separated pursuant to the Italian law, they can be advised by an Italian qualified lawyer specialized in family law, also during the divorce (divorzio) proceeding, in order not to be surprised by any decisions of the competent Court.
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.
Notwithstanding what happened during the legal separation proceeding, indeed, at the moment of the divorce proceeding the economic analysis of the spouses – necessary to determine the possible alimony – shall anyway be carried out. However, each spouse is not always aware of the real economic situation of the other spouse.
For instance, some cases are quite recurring and among these cases may be highlighted the ones concerning a wife, who for the entire duration of the marriage has carried out a domestic activity, and consequently is not fully aware either of the economic situation of the family and of the amount of the quantity and nature of the assets owned by the husband. In a situation like this one, without an adequate legal support, the wife could face a huge risk: in case an alimony is declared by the judge, this alimony could be calculated on the basis of an approximate evaluation of the economic situation of the husband and the alimony amount could be lower than the one that should have been declared. Therefore, it is essential to rely on professionals who may advise the spouse concerning the complete situation, especially when one of the two spouses is foreigner (as well as when both spouses are foreigners) as many income sources could be located abroad.
What is the alimony (assegno di divorzio) and who has the right to request it, pursuant to the Italian law
Firstly, we would like to point out that the alimony (assegno di divorzio) is an economic contribution having helpful nature: its purpose is to protect the economically weaker spouse by means of granting her/him all the necessary measures for her/his sustenance. In order to obtain the alimony, it is essential that the requesting not self-sufficient spouse does not dispose of the necessary measures to maintain the same standard of living and he/she is not able to obtain these necessary measures due to objective reasons, evaluating the patrimonial conditions of the spouses.
How the alimony is determined in Italy
If the parties cannot reach an agreement (accordo), the legal proceeding concerning the evaluation of the alimony is split in two phases before the Italian competent Court: firstly, the Judge must evaluate if the right to obtain the alimony exists or not, taking into consideration the economic situation of the requesting spouse, about which we already mentioned above. If the spouse is not economically self-sufficient and he/she is not able to guarantee his/her economic maintenance due to objective reasons, the Judge shall therefore concretely determine the amount of the alimony. It is worth noting that this evaluation does not take into consideration only the fact that the spouse has a job or not, but it takes into consideration also private incomes and owned assets.
This phase is an extremely delicate one, in which it is very important to have a complete overview. That’s why it may be better to turn to a law firm specialized in Italian family law, which may work together with a team made by multidisciplinary professionals, who work on different levels, in order to start possible private investigations which may clarify and get deeper into the economic and patrimonial situation of the husband and wife: their income, their real estate properties, their retirement or invalidity benefits and in any case the size of all their assets. These proceeding requires more attention in case international matters arise out of the situation, for instance, when one spouse resides or works abroad or she/he is native of a different country, therefore it may be appropriate to protect her/himself also carrying out private investigations outside Italy.
Italian chartered accountants, consultants and even private investigators, if necessary, work together with the law firm. Their common purpose is to focus on the real economic situation of the other party as well as to focus both on the personal and economic contribution given by the spouses to the daily needs of the family and on the increase of the assets of the family.
That’s why, in the above-mentioned case, it is recommended that the spouse do not fall into the temptation of a self-made approach but she/he turns to qualified professionals, in order to protect her/himself and defend her/his right as best as she/he can.
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.