08 August, 2017

In Italy, it’s possible to pay off the ex-spouse by means of a transfer of ownership of real estate assets

To divorce (divorziare) pursuant to Italian law, also if the spouses live abroad or are foreigners, entails the knowledge of all the chances of an agreement from the economic standpoint.

In case wide real estate properties are available and the spouse(s) may think about starting a divorce legal proceeding in Italy, it may be useful to know that there are choice different than a monthly payment of alimony. The lump-sum of alimony may be a choice, by means of which it may be possible to “pay off” the economic rights of the other spouse, as well as it may happen by means of transferring of ownership of assets, like for instance sums of money, shares or obligations, real estate assets and so on.

If the husband, for example, is owner of many real estate assets, also outside Italy, the wife could propose an agreement, which may provide for a transferring of ownership of one or more real estate assets in lieu of the right to receive alimony. Beyond the economic aspect, an option like this could be grounded by more deeply reasons like a sentimental tie to the places, which have been attended during the marriage.

The decision shall need to be verified by the Judge, but it could turn out to be the best possible solution for all the involved parties. Coming back to the example, the wife could decide not to have an economic dependence to her ex-husband for the following years, while this latter one could have the chance to stop at its beginning whatever future economic request. As it happens in case of a lump-sum of alimony, indeed, also the transfer of ownership of assets is an agreement, which does not allow future amendments – except in specific cases – : accepting this agreement, the ex-spouse beneficiary of the alimony loses her/his right to any future economic requests.


Fiscal benefits of transfer of ownership


A further benefit provided for under the Italian law concerning the transfer of ownership occurring during the divorce legal proceeding is the complete exemption from taxes (imposte). Husband and wife shall therefore relieved from the payment of all the stamp duty taxes connected with the transfer of ownership of the real estate asset(s) and the spouse beneficiary of the transfer – the wife, in the example above – shall have the same fiscal benefit granted in Italy to people who buy their first house, in case the asset will be transferred to her as her main first house (and in case this asset will remain owned by her as her main first house for at least five years). On the contrary, if the assets are located in a foreign country or if the ex-spouses are resident in a foreign country, it shall be necessary to evaluate the possible granted benefits also in connection with the country of origin.

Moreover, it may be essential to consider that the transfer of ownership of the asset(s), being it considered as a lump-sum payment, has a definitive nature. It entails that, at the death of the beneficiary ex-spouse, it will be transferred to her heirs and it shall not be transferred back to the transferring ex-spouse (previously owner of the asset(s)).

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