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De facto relationships

Pursuant to Law 20 May 2016 n. 76, it is possible to establish a de facto cohabitation between two adults, permanently united by affective bonds as a couple and by mutual moral and material assistance, if they cohabit in the same residence. It is not possible to establish a de facto cohabitation if the interested parties are united by ties of kinship, affinity or adoption or if even only one of them is linked by a marriage bond or civil union.

By provision of the Ministry of the Interior, considering the personal data requirements, Law 76/2016 applies only to Italian citizens residing abroad (AIRE) and to foreigners residing in Italy, not to foreign citizens residing abroad.

To request the registration of de facto cohabitation in Italy, simply send the declaration of constitution of de facto cohabitation signed by both parties, together with an electronic copy of their respective identity documents, sending an email to perth.statocivile@esteri.it. The declaration can also be sent to us on paper by ordinary mail, addressed to P.O. Box 1894, West Perth WA 6872.
If one of the two parties has changed address, before sending the declaration it is necessary to regularize their personal data, only by connecting to the FAST IT portal. Proof of the current permanent residence address (with a date no earlier than 3 months) must be attached to the declaration of de facto cohabitation, even if the cohabitation has already been registered in Italy or in another consular office.

 

WHAT DOES COHABITATION ACTUALLY INVOLVE?

A series of rights and duties arise from the registration of de facto cohabitation:

  • de facto cohabitants have the same rights as a spouse in the cases provided for by the prison system (paragraph 38);
  • in the event of illness and hospitalization, the de facto cohabitants have the reciprocal right of visits, assistance, as well as access to personal information, according to the rules of organization of public, private or affiliated hospital or assistance structures, envisaged for spouses and family members (paragraph 39);
  • each de facto cohabitant can designate the other as his representative with full or limited powers in the event of an illness involving mental incapacity, for decisions on matters of health or, in the event of death, as regards the donation of organs, methods of treatment of the body and funeral celebrations (paragraphs 40 and 41);
  • rights relating to the house of residence (paragraphs from 42 to 45);
  • succession in the lease contract of the house of common residence for the de facto cohabitant in the event of the tenant’s death or withdrawal from the contract (paragraph 44);
  • inclusion in the rankings for the assignment of social housing, if belonging to a family nucleus constitutes a preferential title or cause (paragraph 45);
  • rights of the partner in the business activity (paragraph 46);
  • extension of the faculties recognized to the de facto partner in the context of measures for the protection of persons without autonomy (paragraphs 47 and 48);
  • in the event of death of the de facto cohabitant, deriving from an unlawful act by a third party, the same criteria identified for compensation for damage to the surviving spouse are applied in identifying the damage to be compensated for the surviving spouse (paragraph 49).

Any changes to the de facto cohabitation, including its dissolution, must be notified to the Consulate.

Furthermore, the de facto cohabitants have the right (but not the obligation) to stipulate the “contract of cohabitation” provided for by paragraph 50 of law n. 76/2016. It has an exclusively patrimonial content (see paragraph 53 of the law), cannot be subject to terms or conditions and is governed by Italian legislation if the two parties have Italian nationality, otherwise the applicable law is that of the country of residence. In the first case, it is possible to stipulate it at this Consulate in the form of a public deed or by authenticating the signatures at the bottom of the contract which was independently drawn up in the form of a private agreement, after which the Consulate will send it to the AIRE Municipalities. Instead, in the second case, it is necessary to stipulate it before a notary or an Australian lawyer and then send a certified copy with Apostille to the Consulate to be requested from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.