The contract of cohabitation (in Italian “contratto di convivenza”) has to be in written form, as a Public Deed (prepared by a Notary Public), or a Private Contract, which is then authenticated by a Lawyer. The Notary or Lawyer will then send the executed document to the Comune, who will transcribe the same in its registers. This professional will also be responsible for the rescission of the contract (by either the wish of both parties, a unilateral decision, by death or marriage) communicating any changes to the Comune, as necessary.
This type of contract was introduced by Law n.76/2016, which came into force in Italy in the summer of 2016, recognising legal rights of all, homosexual or heterosexual, cohabiting couples.
Cohabitation is now legally recognised if: both individuals are over 18; they are united by a stable, romantic relationship and reciprocally provide each other with material and moral assistance; they live together in the same property; they are not related to each other (even by way of adoption).
Both cohabitees will have to appear as living under the same roof at the Anagrafe (and demonstrated via the presentation of the “Stato di Famiglia” certificate). Some, but certainly not all, rights enjoyed by married couples will be afforded to couples who satisfy the above requirements. There is no obligation for the cohabitation to be formalised in a written agreement, however it is advisable for the cohabiting couple to execute one, especially with respect to any financial agreements between them (which can include maintenance, and financial contribution to the household), as legislation will not cover or regulate all aspects of the cohabitation. The automatic regime applicable to cohabitations is the “Separation of Assets” regime (Separazione dei Beni), but a couple can choose for the “Communion of Assets” (Comunione dei Beni) regime to apply to their cohabitation (i.e. one cohabitee has the legal right to 50% of any property purchased by the other, following the start of their cohabitation).
For cohabitees of different nationalities, Italian International Private Law provides that the law applicable to the cohabitation, and the contract, will be that of the country where the cohabitation takes place.