Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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If you are experiencing a family crisis, you may contact one of the centers below or look in the yellow pages under PROFESSIONISTI – MEDIAZIONE FAMILIARE.

Centro per le Famiglie (Center for Families)

Via Orfeo, 40/2
Tel. 051.6563311
Open Monday and Friday 8-15; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8-18
Crisis center operated jointly by the city and region. Their informative website also includes a section for famiglie straniere (foreign families) with information about health, paperwork, driver’s licenses, legal problems and other bureaucratic affairs.

Servizio di Consulenza per la Vita Familiare (Counseling Service for Family Life)

Via Tacconi, 65
Tel. 051.450585
Open Tuesday and Thursday 9-12:30 and 16-19:30; Friday 16-19:30; Saturday 9-12:30 Offers consulting and psychological support for persons struggling with interpersonal family relations. Offers sex education courses for young people and premarital counseling for couples.


There are two types of legal separation in Italy. The first is consensual separation, a mutual agreement between husband and wife that is then approved by the court. The second is judicial separation, in which a judge determines by way of court hearings

In college I decided to work and live on my own. You may think this is normal but it wasn’t for an Italian girl 40 years ago. I was hired by an airline, visited many countries and ended up marrying a Lebanese. I lived in Lebanon and the USA, two very different countries that taught me respect for other people and civilizations. I came back to Italy because I missed the warmth of family and friends and the fun I had at work. Living abroad changed my personality; I am more determined to stand up for my rights, more understanding of Middle East turmoil and very critical of shallow Italian politicians. To live in other countries takes desire to learn and respect.

Paola Fasano

which spouse is responsible for the failure of the marriage. Divorce in Italy is granted on the following grounds: after a court-approved consensual separation; after judicial separation; when one spouse has been sentenced for certain criminal offenses; when one spouse is a foreign citizen and has obtained a divorce or has married again abroad; or when the marriage has not been consummated.

Note that if divorce is requested following separation, there is a mandatory waiting period of three years before the act is finalized. The waiting period begins from the date the couple appeared in court for legal separation. After three years, the judge is obligated by law to ask the couple if they wish to reconcile.


Under Italian law, each parent has the same rights and duties for the children. The two parties have to agree on which parent will have custody and how the other’s visitation rights will be structured. If there’s no agreement, a judge will decide on custody and child support. This system sometimes is disadvantageous for non-citizens, especially those with a language barrier. If the family and children are living in Italy at the time of the separation, foreigners might be required to have written approval of the Italian spouse to take children out of the country. At any time after the separation, the spouses may request a review of the conditions on which the separation was granted, especially related to the exercise of parental authority and amount and type of child support.


In the case of separation, divorce and custody issues, Italian law is as follows: if husband and wife are not the same nationality, the law of the state in which their marriage life is prevalently located applies. In other words, if you have lived predominantly in Italy since marrying and then decide to separate in Italy, Italian laws regarding divorce, custody, etc., will apply, not those of your home country, even if you were married abroad and you and your children have retained your original citizenship. If you divorce but you still reside in Italy, your residency status will not be modified. Once your divorce is finalized, you should obtain a certified copy of the decree and then have the document authenticated and officially translated for registration in your home country.

Other resources regarding foreign divorces or custody disputes: (International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) (ABA Center on Children and the Law) (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers)