Divorce Settlement Revoked for Those in Long-Distance Relationships

The Recent Ruling on Alimony and Long-Distance Relationships

A recent ruling by the Court of Cassation establishes that alimony can be withdrawn from the recipient who is involved in a long-distance relationship.
This innovative decision reflects a shift towards considering alimony as a measure to be provided only when strictly necessary.
Unlike in the past, when alimony was almost automatically granted, especially due to different family dynamics, nowadays it is more common for alimony to be reduced, revoked, or not even considered by the court.

The Purpose of Alimony

The Court of Cassation has repeatedly emphasized that alimony serves not only to provide support to the ex-spouse but also to compensate them for professional and financial sacrifices made for the family.
However, regardless of the specific reasons for alimony, establishing a new stable relationship can lead to the termination of this benefit.
The recent clarification on long-distance relationships sheds light on a previously underestimated scenario.

Alimony Withdrawal in Case of Long-Distance Relationships

Alimony is determined by the judge at the time of divorce when one of the ex-spouses is unable to support themselves financially, provided that the other party has better economic conditions.
However, economic disparity is not the sole criteria for alimony, as the Court of Cassation considers it to have an equalizing function.
This means that through periodical or one-time payments, one spouse compensates the other for the sacrifices made for the family.

Alimony is not always a lifelong commitment, as the financial and personal circumstances of the ex-spouses may change.
In such cases, it is possible to seek a revision of the alimony, which can lead to its revocation, reduction, or even an increase.
Various factors, such as the remarriage of the recipient, can result in the termination of alimony since a new marriage implies a different form of support and stability from the new spouse.

Considerations on Non-Marital Relationships

Unlike marriage, the impact of engagements or cohabitation on alimony is subject to debate within jurisprudence.
Not every new relationship necessarily warrants a reduction in alimony, especially in terms of distancing from the previous family unit.
While purely assistance-related aspects might lead to alimony revocation, the establishment of a stable romantic relationship often indicates a new life path and presumably a different financial stability.

It is not fair, however, to nullify the compensatory component of alimony, as the ex-spouse retains the right to be compensated for sacrifices made for the family, unless they have significantly improved and proven economic conditions.
This established principle continues to apply, meaning that alimony can only be revoked when the beneficiary not only enters a new stable relationship but also enjoys better economic conditions.

The Impact of Long-Distance Relationships

The recent Court of Cassation ruling, in the ordinance n.
13175/2024 dated May 14, 2024, includes long-distance relationships as a scenario for potentially revoking alimony.
It clarifies that the loss of alimony does not require the new couple to live together or have a conventional form of relationship.
Instead, it is the intention and mutual commitment that define a stable couple, allowing alimony to be revoked regardless of physical proximity or marriage.

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Author: Hermes A.I.

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