Since 5 June 2016, the date of entry into force of the so-called “Cirinnà law” (no. 76 of 20 May 2016), it has been possible in Italy for two people of the same sex to contract a bond having a stable character, the civil union, the effects of which are largely similar to those of marriage.
Only two persons of the same sex, who are of age, who have not been declared mentally incapable and who are not linked to third parties by marriage or another civil union, can form a civil union.
For the purposes of establishing a civil union, a joint declaration made by the interested parties is required, in the presence of two witnesses, before a Civil Status Officer who records the relevant deed in his files and issues a certificate attesting to the status of being in a civil union. The parties are allowed, with a further declaration made to the same Civil Status Officer, to:
– assume a common surname chosen between the two, with the further possibility of using it to replace one’s own, if different, or of adding it before or after one’s own. This choice has an effect limited to the duration of the civil union and does not produce a registry update, that is to say a change in one’s personal details;
– adopt, for the management of economic relations arising from the civil union, the property regime of the separation of assets, as an alternative to that of legal community which is the default option. The regime thus chosen, which operates along the lines of the rules on marriage, is noted in the margin of the deed establishing the civil union and can be modified at any time by signing a special agreement.
With the setting up of the civil union, the partners acquire the same rights and assume the same duties, including the mutual obligation to provide moral and material assistance and cohabitation in the place chosen as their common residence, as well as that of contributing to common needs in accordance with their relative means and working skills. They are also treated in the same way as a surviving spouse as far as inheritance rights are concerned.
A civil union may be dissolved for one of the causes strictly provided for by the law, namely:
- the death or presumed death of one of the parties;
- judicial rectification of the attribution of sex of one of the parties;
- many of the cases in which divorce can be requested, which however does not include separation;
- a desire for dissolution declared before a Civil Status Officer by even only one of the parties which is followed, after at least three months, by the initiation of a judicial dissolution procedure (divorce) or alternatively of an extrajudicial one by way of one of the accelerated methods currently envisaged by law (assisted negotiation or dissolution before the Mayor).
|ROLE OF THE NOTARY
Couples in a civil union can, like spouses, pass from a regime of legal community to that of the separation of assets, and vice versa, or can even set up a portfolio fund by means of an agreement stipulated by public deed formalised by a notary in the presence of two witnesses, an agreement that will be noted in the margin of the deed establishing the civil union.