Italian Parents Not Financially Responsible for Adult Children, Court Rules

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. obligate / ˈɒb lɪˌgeɪt / (v) – to make someone do something because they are required to do so

    Apartment residents are obligated to pay rent on time.

  2. stipend / ˈstaɪ pɛnd / (n) – a small amount of money that is periodically given to someone

    He receives a monthly stipend for his work as a part-time researcher.

  3. reside / rɪˈzaɪd / (v) – to live in a particular place

    I reside at my sister’s house.

  4. stir / stɜr / (v) – to cause a strong feeling or emotion

    The announcement has stirred up a lot of anger among the employees.

  5. fend for (oneself) / fɛnd fər / (phrasal) – to do things without the help of others

    She had to fend for herself when she lived alone in another country.


Read the text below.

Italian parents are no longer obligated to financially support their adult children, according to a new ruling by the Italian Supreme Court.

The ruling came in July after the closing of a five-year case, in which a 35-year-old part-time teacher demanded his parents’ financial support because he could not get by on just his annual income. The local court of Tuscany agreed that the man’s salary was not enough and ordered his parents to pay him a monthly stipend.

However, Supreme Court Judge Maria Cristina Giancola reversed the local court’s decision, saying that parents are not responsible for their children’s financial situation for the rest of their lives. She added that young adults should learn to become financially independent.

While protection of adult children with physical or mental disabilities is covered by the Italian law system, parents’ support does not have to continue if their adult children are capable of looking for and getting a job.

According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), nearly 65% of Italians aged 18 to 35 still reside with their parents. In this group, around 36% are students, 38.2% are employed, and 23.7% are looking for a job. ISTAT added that Italy has a 30% unemployment rate in the 15 to 24 age group.

The court ruling stirred controversy in the country. Many citizens welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision, but some also acknowledged that Italy’s current labor market is difficult for younger Italians to enter. The head of the Italian Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, Gian Ettore Gassani, supports the court’s decision. He believes that the ruling will encourage young people to take risks and fend for themselves.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that the new court ruling will encourage young adults to take risks and fend for themselves? Why or why not?
• Apart from what was mentioned in the article, why do you think some adult children still live with their parents? Explain.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, at what age should children stop getting financial support from their parents? Explain.
• Do you think parents should still intervene in their adult children’s lives? Why or why not?