How do Civil Union work?

How do Civil Union work?

Civil Union will create an everlasting bound between two persons (except in the case of a separation or a divorce). Before organizing your Civil Union in Italy, let’s have a look at what the law prescribes. We have already pointed out that a Union is different from a Marriage, as this institution in Italy is permitted only for mixed-sex couples, and rights and duties are not the same.A Civil Union provides for two same-sex adult subjects, and has to be performed in front of a public official, who will validate the procedure, and two wedding witnesses.The Union will be included in the State Civil register, together with the biographical data, the residency and the property regime. The newlyweds can decide to have a common surname, but it is not mandatory. Two persons cannot get married in case one of them is a minor, or has a mental illness, if they are related or they are already married, or if one of them has been found guilty of murder or attempted murder of their previous spouse. If the union is the result of a state of fear or constraint, it will not be considered valid.

Major rights and duties conferred by Unions

The couple will decide wether if they will have the same surname and which property regime will be applied (community property state or separation of property), and they will decide where their marital residence will be located.  The Civil Code procedures will be applied with regard to pension transferability, inheritance and succession (all these rights are valid for civil unions).Both partners have the duty of moral assistance and material support, and to contribute to the common needs. In case of serious illness of one of the partners, the other one has the right to decide which medical treatment will be provided.In the eventuality of sex change, the civil union will automatically lapse when the gender will be modified on the public registry. The reason for the annulment is that unions are valid only for same-sex couples, and the will to pursue the relationship does not prevent the cancellation of the bond.


The text of the law does not provide adoption for gay couples. The law contained an article concerning the stepchild adoption, the adoption of the partner’s child. This part has been canceled by the Senate, in order to obtain the approval from the majority of the government. Nevertheless judicial courts are able to define the subject. In the last years many couples obtained adoptions, whether it was the partner’s child or a child born through GPA.


Before obtaining a divorce, the couple will have to wait a 3 month separation period, and afterwards the divorce will be effective. The act takes place with the will of interrupting the union. Apart from the shorter separation time, the procedure is the same as the one applied for marriages.

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