The destruction of the very concept of family, transformed into a sort of tacky, creaky old hat, is facilitated by a thousand bureaucrats who were just following orders.
Freshly married, starting a new life, I’m waiting for an opportunity to sell my former home. In order to obtain a simple change of legal residence I’m asked to return a second time to the Ufficio Comunale (Municipal Office), bringing with me a written declaration signed by my wife: she must give an explicit assent to include me in her stato di famiglia (record of family status, a document listing family members living together).
After all it’s the very same Municipal Office where, navigating through bureaucratic glitches, we filled in all the marriage papers just a few months ago. You thought they would suffice but they don’t.
It’s a social revolution. A few years ago people could be denounced for abbandono del tetto coniugale (=desertion, leaving the marital home: it was a misdemeanor in Italy). At present instead we got to the presumption of not living together, by default for newlyweds. At least in some municipalities.
Nowadays if a man and a woman marry each other they also need to bring a document to the Municipal Office, where one of the two declares that he/she is welcoming the partner to live in his/her home!
Everything is optional, fluid, changeable.
While I’m complaining about this Kafkaesque state of affairs, I happen to overhear some words, coming from a desk behind me: there’s a couple with a child, changing their residence (they are not married). The municipal clerk tells one of them, and I quote: “Here we need the signature of the other persona maggiorenne” …
With this neutral formula he covered any possible partnership arrangement without risking a faux pas…