07 August, 2017

New cohabitation and alimony: when there is the risk of losing the right in Italy and how to proceed with an Italian qualified lawyer specialized in family law

The ex-wife, who receives alimony, can lose this right in case she starts a new cohabitation. The right of receiving alimony, indeed, is not considered in Italy as a vested right. When a sentence of divorce (divorzio) has been issued pursuant to Italian law, the terms and conditions of the sentence cannot be modified. The ex-husband, with the legal advice by an Italian qualified lawyer specialized in family law, could proceed with the specific purpose of asking a modification of the decision of the Court.

Who, for example, could request a modification of terms and condition agreed during the divorce proceeding, 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.


A past failed marriage is undoubtedly a wound, which hurts. Yet, even when people believe in “being too old” to fall in love or when the idea of a new partner is simply the last thing to think about, it may happen, quite unexpectedly, to find themselves in living a happy and peaceful relationship.

It may so happen that a woman, having closed her “chapter” of her first marriage, may meet a new partner and may start with him a new love story, even moving to a foreign country. As time goes by, if everything goes on at its best, the desire to establish a strong tie could increase repeatedly, for instance by means of living together, stabilizing the relationship also daily. When there is a past divorce, it may be better to know in advance, which ones could be the consequences of such new cohabitation, especially in case an ex-spouse is the beneficiary of alimony (assegno divorzile). Although in Italy cohabitations between heterosexuals may have just a minimum value from the juridical standpoint, it may be possible that these cohabitations could influence the economic benefits issued during the divorce proceeding.


New marriage after divorce in Italy


The obligation to pay alimony to the ex-spouse terminates in case of a new marriage by the beneficiary. If the ex-spouse, beneficiary of alimony, decides to get married once again, her/his right to receive alimony terminates definitively. If the divorce has occurred in Italy, pursuant to Italian law the obliged spouse must file on purpose a request of modification (istanza di modifica) of terms and conditions, which have been issued by means of the divorce sentence by the competent Italian Court, which will revoke alimony.


The value of cohabitation under Italian law


The ex-husband can proceed with the specific purpose to revoke the right to alimony also in case the ex-wife, beneficiary of alimony, starts a new cohabitation that shows a stability and continual nature, in Italy as well as abroad. The ex-husband can file, with the legal advice of an Italian qualified lawyer specialized in family law, an appeal (ricorso) to request a request of modification of terms and conditions, which have been issued by the competent Italian Court.

The beneficiary ex-spouse, therefore, may lose her/his right to alimony, or may receive a lower amount, without the possibility of a new counter-request in case the new cohabitation should terminate.

The Court, indeed, may decide upon a decrease of the amount of the alimony or could even decide upon a termination of the obligation to pay the alimony, in case the Court would believe that the woman will be able to fulfil her sustenance needs thanks to an economic contribution by her new partner.

In any circumstances, however, it is worth noting that the ex-spouse obliged to pay it cannot suspend the right to alimony independently. Only a sentence issued by the competent Court can decide upon a decrease of its amount or its definitive termination.

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.

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