How to divorce in Italy

On this blog I already mentioned a famous Italian movie, “Divorce Italian Style”, in which a Sicilian aristocrat gets sick and tired of his wife and, since divorce was not allowed before the Seventies, he simply kills her exploiting some loopholes in the Italian law of the time.

Divorce was indeed introduced in Italy in the Seventies, but that was not easy: the Church and the conservatives fought bitterly. In order to avoid a political bloodshed, the pro-divorce faction made some concessions. If you read the Law on Divorce, you’ll conclude that divorce in Italy is not a right, but something that is granted by the Court on a discretionary basis and in exceptional circumstances. The practice, of course, is different: if a spouse is clearly unwilling to end his or her marriage, the judge will take note that such marriage is impossible to save.

However, the procedure is a nightmare. You have to go to Court to get an “authorization to cease cohabitation”, then a “separation judgement”, then wait for three years before finally applying for divorce.

The Parliament, at least, is debating a Bill that, if approved, would shorten the time between separation and divorce judgement to six months, but only in some cases.


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