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Italian Court of Cassation (Corte di Cassazione), Civil Section I, No. 14728/2016, 19 July 2016

Type Judgment
Case number 14728/2016



Rejection of the appeal aimed at obtaining the pronouncement of the charge against the ex-husband and the exclusive custody of the children because the father of the latter had joined the Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Normative references

art. 19 of the Italian Constitution
articles 143 and 147 of the Italian civil code


In matters of legal separation, a change of religion by one of the spouses cannot be regarded as a reason for the debit of the separation, not even where there is a marriage with civil effects according to the Concordat between the parties. The change of religious faith and the consequent participation in the collective practices of the new religion cannot be considered a reasons for the pronouncement of the debit, unless the adherence to the new religious belief is manifestly incompatible with the duties of a spouse (and parent) as laid down in Articles 143 and 147 of the Civil Code. In addition, the non-respect of Catholic values, which only have effect in the canonical system by virtue of the principle of the distinction of orders, is juridically irrelevant.