Legal Advice for Expats in Italy by Michele Capecchi by Michele Capecchi - Read Online

Book Preview

Legal Advice for Expats in Italy - Michele Capecchi

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1


Avv. Michele Capecchi

Attorney at Law

Author: Avv. Michele Capecchi

Design and Layout: Marco Badiani and Leo Cardini

Editor: Helen Farrell

ISBN: 978-88-97696-16-2

September, 2017

B’Gruppo srl, Prato

Collana The Florentine Press

All rights reserved / Riproduzione vietata
 © Michele Capecchi 2017

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher and the authors.

About the author

Michele Capecchi is a registered lawyer and member of the Florence Bar Association. He holds a Master’s of Law in American Law and International Legal Practice from the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He will consider relevant inquiries sent to and

Disclaimer: The information is based on the opinion of an independent expert and does not claim to be complete, updated or definitive.

Table of contents




Civil unions and de facto couples

Divorce (general)

International divorce

Alimony, financial rights after divorce and child support

Women’s rights

Opening a business

Buying a property

Renting a property


Ruined holidays


I began studying law in Florence in 1994, when law school was not yet so open to globalization. After I got my law degree, I started practicing law in the same firm where I am now, and I became enthusiastic about mediation and arbitration, negotiation and finding amicable agreements to seemingly impossible problems. There are so many cases and legal issues that can be resolved in other ways that do not involve going to court. I wanted to learn more in order to help out as many people as possible, not only Italians. I decided to leave Italy to broaden my horizons.

In 2007, I moved to California to get my master’s degree in American Law and International Legal Practice at Loyola Law School. After obtaining my LL.M., I worked as a visiting lawyer in New York City. In 2010, after a brief stint back in Florence, I joined a Chinese law firm in Shanghai for four months to learn more about intellectual property law. In China, I learnt a completely different approach to the art of contract negotiations—it was intriguing to discover that in China, The Art of War by Tzu Sun, is actually studied in law school! I even had the fortune to participate in undercover raid actions commissioned by foreign clients to target counterfeited goods and trademark infringements during international trade fairs.

In over twelve years of legal activity, I have had the privilege to collaborate with some of the most qualified lawyers around the globe and serve multitudes of interesting international clients. Thanks to them, I learned that, in order to offer good legal services, just speaking English is not enough: you have to be aware of the social and cultural background of the person who is in front of you. You need to get out of your local legal mindset and be able to respond to the (high) expectations of clients who come from very different cultures. I continue to learn how to make the most out of these differences, how to use them as an asset, and how to stay open-minded, which is the first rule to follow when you are sitting at a negotiation table with people from backgrounds that are very different from your own.

Ultimately, I returned to work in Florence because I was certain that globalization would bring a growing demand in international legal experts here and, of course, because this beautiful city offers the very best quality of life.

Most of the topics described in this book find inspiration in actual cases that I have managed during my legal practice. Often I provide advice to people looking to use Florence and Italy as a base for their life and business. Sadly, I receive requests about what to do in case of sexual abuse, divorce and separation between international couples, and how to manage the issue of child custody. Happily, I also get requests from people who have questions on how to get married in Italy or from foreign investors who want to buy real estate property and transform it into a luxury B&B or, more simply, into their dream house.

Furthermore, immigration issues and starting a successful business in Italy are other areas of practice of interest to international visitors. Immigration is not only of concern to students who wish to come here, but also to people who want to live and work here. As part of this relocation process, I am often asked how to start a business in Italy.

It has been particularly pleasing to write about these issues in The Florentine, Florence’s English news magazine, especially when it helps people navigate through the mazes and pitfalls of the Italian legal system.

Obviously this book is not a substitute for professional legal advice: professional support should always be sought out for any of these matters, especially if you are not fluent in Italian and you have little experience with the Italian legal system. Nevertheless this book is intended as a guide and offers preliminary insight into some of the most frequent legal issues that every person has to face at some point in his or her life. Likewise it can help reduce the risk of underestimating a problem that, with legal support, can be resolved or even prevented at a much cheaper price.

It is my hope that you will find the advice in these pages useful and informative, as well as encouraging and stimulating for your life as an expatriate in Italy.

—Michele Capecchi, attorney, LL.M


International friends and clients