Wednesday, January 4, 1995

What are rights of Unmarried mother, a UK citizen, Italian resident?

I am a UK citizen but have been living in Italy as a resident for 2? years with my children, fathered by a UK citizen. We are not married. He works in the UK and comes to Italy every other week, spending more or less 1 - 2 weeks in Italy. He considers Italy his home, as his family are here. The children attend school here. He (barely) supports us financially, although I earn my way through assisting him with his company with computer work from home. "We" bought a house 2? years ago and it is in my name, as are the bills. Due to the rising mortgage repayments, we started to struggle financially almost immediately and as a result, I am never given any money to survive on when he is away.

I want to sell the house but he refuses to do that (this is his dream home). He doesn't want me or our children to leave Italy. He refuses to return to the UK so that I can find decent-paying employment (I used to have a successful career paying GBP 60K p.a.) as Italy was proving fruitless. He can't get a mortgage in this economic climate and already has a bad name with the mortgage company since the mortgage has never been paid on time since inception and we are still trying to catch up with payments when he failed/didn't bother to pay for 3 months.

Our relationship broke down irretrievably by September 2007, although we continue to live in the same house.

I feel like a prisoner in Italy, have no money to fight my case, have been slapped with a nasty lawyer's letter from him September 2008 saying I couldn't take the children out of the country without his permission quoting the Hague Convention. He said that until I had a job in the UK, I couldn't take them out of Italy. He refuses to live there full time, or even just with me so that I can have the children with me while I look for a job, since I tried job hunting for a week each month but it's not easy when you're living in another country and when you're desperately missing your little children - they are only 3 and 5 now, were 2 and 4 when I started looking for a job in UK.

I'm desperately unhappy and don't know what to do. Some Italian lawyers have told me that I can sell the house and move back to the UK without his permission since we are all UK citizens. Some say that his lawyer is right, that I can't take them without his permission.

He's denied me talking to any of his friends or family about the situation any further since he doesn't want them questioning him or talking to him about it.

What rights do I have? What right does he have to keep me here in Italy against my will?

And, if I were to choose to stay in Italy, sell the house and move somewhere else, what legal rights to custody does he have over the
children? Can I change address without him and sort out custody/visitation afterwards? I don't want to uproot the children or upset their lives any more than necessary, but changes need to be made.

Help! I can't go to the UK authorities, I've already got a family lawyer lined up over there and she says that I have to deal with it through Italian law in the first instance.

Anyone know of a good family attorney who actually knows what they're talking about (and who speaks English)? Preferably in Florence.

Long-winded, but thanks for your time.

Answer on What are rights of Unmarried mother, a UK citizen, Italian resident?

Before you spend any money I think you should contact the Citizens Advice Beureau in the U.K....they are free and of course give very good legal advice..I think you may have to split and sell the house by mutual agreement....I think Italian law will probably take precedence...it will get better..I am in a similar situation myself.