Duration of the obligation to child support in Italy: parents obliged until the economic self-sufficiency of the children, therefore even when the children are major of age. A legal advice by an Italian qualified lawyer can help the foreign client.
A foreigner who does not know the governing law in force and effect could legitimately wonder what is the duration of the obligation on the mother (madre) and on the father (padre) to child support (mantenimento) in Italy. Knowing the right answer would be very interesting for those separated (separati) or divorced (divorziati) parents who are paying (or shall be paying) child support and whose children (figli) are by now major of age.
When husband and wife are either foreigners or one of the two is Italian and married a foreigner, or their country of origin is different, it may be necessary to carry out an examination of the possible applicable law to the specific case also in order to pinpoint the most favourable applicable law, even in case they have children. For these reasons, it is appropriate to appoint an Italian qualified lawyer (Avvocato Italiano), who is specialized concerning family law, also internationally, so that his/her expertise could allow him/her to advise the client with respect to a comparison between the foreign applicable law and the Italian law.
Children who are not economically self-sufficient under the Italian law
During the latest years, due to a tough economic crisis and a high juvenile unemployment rate, every kind of word has been used to define current young people nowadays. About them, everything has been said: that they are “choosy”, and even that they are “lazybones” (fannulloni) and “idlers”. But for every young person allegedly lazy, there are several others who try to search for their own direction. However, not always dedication and effort are compensated as deserved, so many of them find themselves to carry out occasional jobs that may make practically impossible to reach an economic independence from parents.
Let’s imagine the case of a young who recently graduated and who has always carried out part-time jobs, in order not to weigh too much on parents’ shoulders. The day after graduating, the boy begins immediately to search for a job, but the only proposals he receives are proposals of stage periods, with no chance of being hired. In order to make experience, the boy decides to accept. However, the compensation he is getting is only enough to cover his expenses, and the full-time schedule does not allow him to integrate his income by means of carrying out a second activity. It appears evident that the young boy needs help and, in these cases, the parents shall keep on helping him to integrate his income. If these parents are separated or divorced and they even moved abroad because they are foreigners, the Italian competent Court can force them to pay child support.
The recurring child support to an adult son in Italy
The right of child support (diritto al mantenimento) by the adult son terminates only when this child has reached an economic self-sufficient situation. The amount of child support can be paid to the parent with whom the child is permanently living or directly to the child himself, especially if he stopped living, in the meantime, together with the placement parent (genitore collocatario) in the same house.
The obligation to contribute to the sustenance of an adult son could be avoided by the parent only when the child is directly liable for his economic dependence. If the child decides consciously not to work, he could lose his right of child support. The child shall therefore engage himself with actively searching for a job, for example reading jobs applications published on magazines and on online specialized sites, he shall go to the companies and to entities who deal with temporary jobs, he shall send his CV and attend the respective meetings. Even in case he would like to carry out an independent job or a self-employed profession, or in case he would like to become an entrepreneur, he shall be proactive. A passive and parasitic behaviour, while he is on parents’ shoulders, cannot be awarded. In any case, if child support is provided, the obliged spouse(s) cannot decide autonomously to stop paying it, but the parent(s) shall necessarily turn to the Italian competent Court with the legal advice of an Italian qualified lawyer specialized in family law, in order to request, according to various cases, the termination of the child support or the reduction of its amount to be regularly paid.
The case of the recently graduated child that we have seen above is however a very different one. The boy, due to reasons who don’t depend on his will, has not managed yet to obtain that economic self-sufficiency that would allow him not to weigh on parents’ shoulders anymore and, consequently, shall have the right to child support. The young boy, in case of lack of collaboration by his parents, could even file a lawsuit (causa) against them to obtain that they shall pay, as long as it will be necessary, a child support.
Neither being major of age nor being graduated, therefore, are events that terminate the obligation to maintain the child. The same applies, but only in a small number of cases, for the marriage: the establishment of a new family by the adult child, indeed, does not entirely correspond with the achievement of that economic self-sufficiency which terminates the child’s right to be maintained by the parents, at least temporarily.
Marzorati Law Firm is specialised in family law, also internationally, and its lawyers usually deal with separations, divorces, child support and family support. To advise all its clients all over Italy and worldwide, Marzorati Law Firm has also developed a network, made also of at least a barrister/solicitor, an attorney-at-law, an abogado, and an avocat à la cour, all qualified in their respective country of practice.