Separation: consequences from the patrimonial point of view


The lawyer Armando Cecatiello explains the consequences of separation through his new book Patrimoni, Famiglie e Matrimoni . He wants to offer us a tool to learn about national and international laws for the protection of ourselves and our loved ones.


In addition to the personal effects of the separation, effects also come at the patrimonial level, first of all the dissolution of the legal communion. It also concerns the succession rights of separated spouses, in which case it determines whether or not the separation was pronounced with a charge . In the case of separation without charge , the separation does not affect inheritance rights. The spouse therefore remains a legitimacy and a share of the inheritance must be devolved, according to the provisions of the law. Conversely, the surviving spouse separated with the debit does not have full inheritance rights to the other spouse’s estate. However according to the Civil Code the surviving spouseis entitled to a life allowance, if at the opening of the succession he had legal rights against the deceased spouse. Separation proceedings also provide for a maintenance allowance to be paid by the spouse who does not have adequate income to support himself. The allowance is due only if the charge has not been pronounced for the spouse. Children have the right to maintenance, i.e. to the economic contribution of both parents based on their needs, which guarantees them food, accommodation and medical care. Even clothing, school books and everything they need to grow.

Armando Cecatiello, lawyer

The allowance thus plays a solidarity function for the economically weaker spouse. The maintenance allowance is neither a form of compensation for the sacrifices made during the marriage nor of compensation for the negative consequences of the separation. The allowance must guarantee, as far as possible, the same standard of living as during the marriage. It should not be confused with the maintenance allowance which provides for a state of need and subsistence.


The spouse who has no income of his own is entitled to the allowance, therefore in the event of economic disparity between the two spouses. In quantifying the check, the judge makes a comparison between the two economic situations. Then consider whether the incomes of the economically weaker spouse are adequate compared to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. 


According to a recent guideline of the Court of Cassation, the standard of living must be interpreted restrictively. It can’t be the only element to justify the maintenance allowance. The contribution made by the ex-spouse, the duration of the marriage, the income potential and age must also be taken into consideration. 

There is no age limit for child support . Thus, maintenance will cease if the children work and obtain an income that allows them to be economically independent. Or if the non-maintenance depends on their inaction, refusal or unjustified abandonment of work.

  • Assets, Families and Marriages – The consequences of separation (


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