Child Proceedings Lawyers in Italy

The custodial duties in Italy are allocated and divided by the court in the manner deemed most appropriate and in the best interests of the child. Articles of the Civil Code regulate matters of child custody. After separation or divorce, the minor has the right to maintain a continuous relationship to each parent and to receive schooling, education, care etc. from both parents

During both the judicial separation and the divorce proceedings, the judge will determine which spouse will have custody of the children, if any, and establish the type and amount of support the other spouse will provide. Italian law provides three types of child custody in this country, namely:

  • exclusive custody which grants the custody to one of the parents, who has the right to decide on everything with regard to the child's daily life, to exercise full parental responsibilities (unless a judge makes other provisions); the non-custodial parent has limited responsibilities;
  • joint custody means that both parents share custody and parental responsibilities, even though the child may live with one of the parents; theoretically, this seems to satisfy the interests of the child (having both parents);
  • alternating custody implies that each parent has the right to exercise exclusively his/her parental responsibilities for the period of custody granted to them; each of them has the custody of the minor for predetermined periods.

At any time after the separation, the spouses may request a review of the conditions on which the separation was granted, especially in regard to the exercise of parental authority, amount and type of child support. Spousal support may also be sought if the spouse seeking support was not at fault for the separation and has no means or insufficient means for his or her support.

Children must be maintained until they become financially independent and, although there is no age limit for financial independence, usually the standard test applied by the Italian Family Courts is when the child reaches the age of 26 in case of University studies. The average child support is equivalent to 25% of the annual income per child

The key factors that courts consider when awarding child custody to parents are as follows:

  •  the minor's mental and physical health, age, sex;
  •  the parents' physical and mental health;
  •  the parents' lifestyle and whether there is a history of child abuse;
  •  the minor's preference (if he/she's above the age of 12);
  •  the parents' ability to provide for the child;
  •  the emotional bond between the child and the parents.

The matrimonial home is allocated to the parent who also retains custody of the children until they become independent but full ownership of the family home will be transferred to the original owner (if the non-custodial parent bought the matrimonial home) as soon as the children become independent. Alternatively, if the matrimonial home is jointly owned after the children become independent, it is normally sold and the proceeds shared between the spouses.

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