In the field of civil law, family matters and the protection of minors constitute one of the areas where the Firm’s professional activity is mainly focused. The matter in question is part of the Firm’s tradition thanks to its founders, Mario Lana and Augusta Lagostena Bassi. The activity of Augusta Lagostena Bassi is particularly important, also on the international level: her institutional commitment as President of the Commission for Equality and Equal Opportunities established at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, in addition to her numerous battles in defense of women’s rights which led her to actively participate in the preparation of Law no. 66 of 15 February 1996 on sexual violence, are particularly relevant.
Today, the Firm carries out judicial and extrajudicial activities, also in the context of assisted negotiation procedures, particularly in the following areas:
The activity of the Firm dwells on all the issues concerning the pathological moment of the matrimonial relationship, taking care of the duties that lead to the separation of the spouses, as well as the possible subsequent phase of divorce.
The legal assistance provided in this area by the Firm is carried out by paying scrupulous attention to the problems related to the custody of children, characterized by the constant interest in all the issues underlying the continuous evolution of legal arrangements on the subject.
A peculiar characteristic of the Firm is the attention paid to questions of international law relating both to the recognition of judgments and foreign jurisdiction on the status of persons and family law, as well as the interpretation and implementation of the set of rules ranging from international law to the European Union legislation of reference, with particular regard to Regulation 2201 of 27 November 2003.
The Firm’s activity focuses on the prodromal phase with respect to the stipulation of the civil union – and, therefore, with respect to the advisory activity provided to those who wish to better investigate the aspects of the new legislation – just as much as it focuses on the pathological phase, i.e. the dissolution of the civil union.
Law no. 76 of May 20, 2016 also regulates de facto cohabitation, which concerns two persons of age, homosexual or heterosexual, firmly united by affective ties as a couple and by ties of mutual moral and material assistance, not bound by relationships of kinship, affinity or adoption, by marriage or by a civil union. De facto cohabitants have been granted many of the rights recognized to spouses united in marriage.
The Firm provides assistance and advice to de facto cohabitants in order to make them understand the tools offered by the new legislation and apply it in the best possible way, including the possibility of drafting the so-called cohabitation contracts pursuant to article 1, paragraph 50, law 76/2016. These contracts have been designed to allow registered de facto cohabitants (i.e. those who have registered their status of stable heterosexual or homosexual cohabitation in the registry records) to regulate the property relations relating to the life they share. In other words, de facto cohabitants can entrust the regulation of the economic aspects of their living together to a contract, specifically stipulated; this is, of course, an opportunity and not a duty, which the Firm assesses on a case-by-case basis, depending on the different cases, as cohabitants are entitled to carry out their relationship even in the absence of a cohabitation contract.
The Firm pays particular attention to the protection of minors within the family and to the favourable execution of the rulings made by the courts in case of separation and divorce of the parents.
In this regard, Law no. 54 of 8 February 2006, which has had a profound effect on the subject of child custody in the event of parents losing their marital ties, is of the utmost importance, introducing the institution of joint custody as a general rule and directive for the judge, to be complied with in the specific interest of the child.
The Firm also deals with the procedural initiatives before the tutelary judge, in the event that the child is deprived of his or her parents or in the event that the latter are unable to exercise responsibility over the child, or to obtain measures to protect the assets of the child.
Moreover, the protection of minors also covers the procedures to obtain the judicial or voluntary recognition of children by their natural parents.
The activity of the Firm is also focused on the preparation and adoption of protective instruments provided by the law and aimed at protecting the child in case of misuse of parental responsibility. In this context, the Firm has distinguished itself for a number of battles with a wide resonance in the national press, carried out on the subject of the illicit transfer or non-return of children abroad, a matter governed by the Hague Convention of 1980 and the Luxembourg Convention of the same year, both made enforceable in our system by Law no. 64 of 15 January 1994, as supplemented by the above-mentioned EU Regulation no. 2201/2003.
With many years of experience in the field, the Firm takes care of all the formalities relating to the adoption and fostering of Italian or foreign children.
Our professionals not only deal with the bureaucratic aspects before the competent courts, but also guide the future parents on the more practical aspects, especially concerning international adoptions, thanks to the network of relationships gained through years of experience (e.g. with the Commission for International Adoptions).
The Firm offers assistance in proceedings for the declaration of nullity of canonical marriage. By the declaration of nullity of the sacrament of marriage, we refer to the legal recognition by the ecclesiastical court which, by virtue of canon law, recognizes the nullity of the sacrament of marriage. Technically, it is a “recognition of nullity”.
Indeed, according to Catholic doctrine, marriage is one and inseparable, so there can be no grounds for annulment or termination of the marriage itself. If, however, the existence of a cause of nullity is verified ex post, such as to affect the validity of the marriage contract, the court recognizes the nullity of the bond and declares the dissolution of the spouses from the rights and obligations arising from marriage.
Ms. Valentina Rao is qualified to practice before the Ecclesiastical Court of Triveneto.