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Divorce: when is the cheque due and can the sum be reduced over time?
Under Italian Italian law, following a divorce sentence, one of the ex-partners may be obliged to pay the other a divorce cheque; the financially stronger ex-partner will pay the cheque to the ex-spouse that has less adequate means or cannot obtain them for objective reasons. Italian law establishes that when the Judge rulesthe divorce, she/he will also set the amount due to one of the ex-partners, taking into consideration multiple factors such as each party’s personal income, the reasons that led to the divorce and the actual duration of the marriage.
The judge also establishes, if any amount is due, how this sum should be paid: whether in a single instalment or on a monthly basis. In the past, one of the criteria in establishing the amount for the divorce cheque was to ensure that the partner entitled to receive the sum could maintain the same life style as during the marriage. Since 2017, this specific criterion has been abandoned and although one of the main aspects that will be evaluated by the Judge will be the income difference between the two partners, the Judge will now decide to what extent the lower income is linked to the partner’s efforts to build the family and general contribution to the family’s management.
It should be noted that although the partner’s divorce cheque is no longer related to the previous life style, this does not apply to children, as they have the right to continue to enjoy the same life style even if the parents are divorced.
The divorce cheque amount can always be re-determined by the Judge, especially when the partner’s economic conditions change. Following a claim filed by the party that is obliged to pay the cheque, the Judge will evaluate whether the other partner’s financial conditions have changed since the cheque amount was established, and analyse whether the new economic conditions do actually totally or partially balance the past difference in economic means between the two parties. This principle is highlighted in the High Court order of 02 July 2021 n. 18777.
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