Romania: the Italian divorces destination.
Romania has become the destination of choice for the so-called “divorce tourism,” for Italians looking to end their marriages, owing to its faster and cheaper procedures.
An increasing number of Italian couples choose to end their marriage in other states of the European Union, where procedures are simpler and cheaper than in their home country.
A New York Times (NYT) journalist told the story of a couple that traveled from Bologna to Bucharest for just one day, with the only purpose of signing residence documents in Romania, so they can legally terminate their marriage in just a few months. They chose the services of the “Divorzio Comodo” (“Easy Divorce”) company that arranges all-inclusive “divorce trips” to Romania (flight ticket included) at the starting price of 5,000 USD.
“A divorce takes too long for someone who wants to start a new life,” the man told NYT.
Apparently, Italy requires unhappy couples to sit through a three-year legal separation period before divorce proceedings can begin; if the breakup is less than amicable, the process can sometimes take up to ten years. The solution for those looking for a more efficient way to sever their ties is a “divorce destination.”
Unlike the three years required by Italian law, in other countries of the EU a marriage can be terminated just six months after signing the residence papers.
Italian “divorce tourists” are able to bypass their homeland’s lengthy wait times by traveling abroad to sign the release papers because EU countries are required to recognize divorces granted by any member state.
Anywhere moves faster than Italy on this issue, but Romania has made itself particularly attractive to would-be Bunga-Bunga-ers by being cheap and taking a casual attitude toward residency requirements, said NYT.
The demand for foreign splits is apparently so large that it’s created a niche industry.
“It’s true that we’re seeing offices offering such services opening up,” said Diego Sabatinelli, secretary for the Italian League for Quick Divorce, an association affiliated with the Radical Party, which was instrumental in legalizing divorce in Italy in 1970.
“If there is a market, there is a need.”
Diego Sabatinelli has been lobbying the Italian government to get rid of the required three-year separation, which is meant to act as “a period of forced reflection and possibly reconsideration.”
As a Milanese divorce lawyer explained, that’s just too much contemplation, even for a country full of Catholics:
“Delaying the end of a marriage rarely saves it” … She said that she had worked on countless divorces in the past 20 years, and “could only think of one case where the couple got back together.”
Although there is no statistic about the number of Italians that choose to divorce abroad, Gian Ettore Gassani, the president of the Italian Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said it reached 8,000 couples and is still increasing, which represents a defeat for the Italian legal system.
Other popular destinations for divorcing Italians are Spain, France and the UK.
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