October 18, 2015 10:00 PM

Teresa Giudice will be released from federal prison at the end of December, after almost a year behind bars – but when her husband, Joe, is released after a 41-month sentence, he may be deported.

But should he have to return to Italy, Teresa and their four daughters would “of course” go with him, he said.

The possibility of deportation came up on Sunday’s episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In, the second in a three-part special, during a meeting with the family’s attorney James J. Leonard Jr.

Leonard asked, “If, God forbid, you had to go, do you see Teresa and the girls moving to Italy with you?”

Joe said he and Teresa have talked about it. “Of course she would,” he said.

But: “I consider myself an American,” Joe said (in fact, his parents and siblings are citizens), and he said he doesn’t know anything about Italy beyond the culinary aspects.

Teresa and Joe Giudice
Dave Kotinsky/Getty

Joe’s impending prison sentence seemed to hang over the family throughout the episode, which was taped in the summer.

Joe made light of it, even to oldest daughter, Gia.

But brother-in-law Joe Gorga said that Joe Giudice’s years in prison will be much different than Teresa Giudice’s incarceration: “He’s going to miss so much. Really breaks my heart for him.”

Leonard advised Joe Giudice to prepare mentally – so he met with an Italian restaurateur who spent seven years behind bars, for an inside scoop.

The advice? “From the minute you go in, you gotta worry about what you’re going to do when you get out of jail.”

The conversation also sparked another round of defensive statements about the Giudice’s fraud convictions, which Joe Giudice seemed to reference obliquely.

“I chose to work hard, I’m still going to jail,” he said, adding, “I plead guilty. I wasn’t trying to do anything wrong.”

Joe Giudice said one of the biggest things on his mind is his family, and what will go on while he is away. But a source recently told PEOPLE that his wife’s prison time has actually brought them closer.

He told the camera at the end of the episode, “I’m ready to get it over with and that’s it, and move on with my life.”

The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In airs Sundays at 8 p.m. (ET) on Bravo.

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