In this article, The Florentine’s legal columnist and international lawyer Michele Capecchi addresses many of the issues raised at the Round Table on Violence Against Women, held on March 16 at St. Mark’s English Church in Florence, organized by Lynn and Tessa Cole in collaboration with anti-violence center Associazione Artemisia.
Q: I married an Italian citizen. If we get divorced, can I remain in Italy?
A: According to Italian Legislative Decree no. 30/2007, a non-European Union citizen who marries a EU citizen (or with a person who already has a long-term permit of stay in the EU) has the right to request and obtain a permit to stay for family reasons.
Q: What about same-sex civil unions?
A: The same right is also recognized in Italy for same-sex couples who decide to formalize their relationship in a “civil union”. Italy has recognized same-sex civil unions since June 5, 2016, providing same-sex couples with most of the legal protections as married couples. Therefore, a non-EU partner of a civil union can apply for a family permit to stay if his/her partner is Italian (or has a long-term permit to stay).
Q: What happens to that family permit to stay in case of separation? Can the spouse keep that permit of stay in case of divorce?
A: The answer depends on the length of the relationship and whether the couple has children or not. According to Article 12 of the Decree 30/2007, the divorce does not determine the loss of the right to stay of the spouse who is not a member of the EU if that spouse has acquired the permanent residence card for family members (after five years of permanency in Italy) or if one of the following conditions apply: