Italy: Natural becomes legitimate

By Patrizia Giannini, S4B Solutions 4 Business

Revolutionary reforms to laws of he­reditary succession, No. 219/12: The Italian Parliament has recently enacted a new law, No. 219/12, which became effective on 1 January 2013. This has amended the provisions of the Civil Code relating to filiation (wills and hereditary descent), eliminating all distinctions between "legitimate" chil­dren (born in wedlock) and "natural" children (born outside of marriage).

This reform in the Iaw introduces:

  • New provisions — both substantive and procedural — in the field of natu­ral filiation and the status of such children under the law, based on the principle that "all children have the same legal status" (Art. 315 of the Civil Code);
  • A government mandate to amend the existing provisions in order to eliminate all remaining discrimina­tion between legitimate, natural and adopted children (approved as of 6 November 2013 by both the House and Senate);
  • A redefinition of the powers of the Ordinary and Juvenile Courts with respect to procedures for custody and child support;
  • Provisions to guarantee all chil­dren's rights to food and mainte­nance.

This reform has important implications in matters of succession (includ­ing transnational) and from a practical point of view, the effects have been most remarkable among those directly affected by this change.

In particular:

  • With regard to succession require­ments (officiumpietastis), the natu­ral ascending relatives are now in­cluded among the recognised heirs (ex Civil Code Art. 536); so that to the extent the provisions of Art. 538 of the Civil Code, which previously excluded them from entitlement to any portion (portiodebita) therein contemplated, such provisions are now abrogated;
  • With regard to intestate succession (successioabintestato), this reform to the law will now include natu­ral siblings that were previously excluded and Art. 572 of the Civil Code will be understood to apply equally to those in consanguinity, rights which were not afforded to children born out of wedlock until now.

Patrizia Giannini
S4B Solutions 4 Business, Rome, Italy
T: +39 o6 323 07 27
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Attorney Patrizia Giannini, became cer­tified by the Italian Bar in 1997, having graduated from Iaw school in 1994 fol­lowed by a two-year clerkship in 1996. She was admitted to practice in the Italian Supreme Court in 2009. She is Adjunct Professor at the La Sapienza University, Rome, for Civil Law (contract, family, wills/trusts). She is also Civil Arbiter ap­pointed by the Court of Rome and a court­appointed Judicial Administrator as well as being appointed to the Curatore Falli­mentare, the official register of trustees/ receivers to businesses in receivership. She is the Regional Chairperson, Europe of GGI's IDR PG.

Giannini Law Firm, partnered with S4B So­lutions for Business, is based in Rome. Prac­tice areas include private/corporate civil practice, ADR, insurance law, bankruptcy/ receivership, real estate, inheritance law, family, divorce and juvenile law.

published: January 2014


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