Italy’s Supreme Court has ruled that young adults in Italy do not have the right to financial support from their parents, even if they are not financially independent.
In a judgment from July, which was made public on Friday, a court in Rome ruled against the appeal of a 35-year-old part-time music teacher who still expects financial support from his parents, claiming that his annual income of 20,000 euros (about $24,000) was not enough.
“Reducing his adolescent ambitions” the adult child “is bound to find a way to self-support himself” judge Maria Cristina Giancola, who chaired the panel of the court, wrote.
The Supreme Court sentence concludes a five-year case, and the first ruling from a judge in Tuscany, which affirmed the right of the complainant to get a monthly allowance of 300 euros (about $360) from his parents.
Giancola wrote that while a child with a physical or mental disability has specific protection in the Italian law system, the financial support of parents “cannot continue indefinitely” if this is not the case. She also noted that the difficulties in finding a job that meets professional expectations are not an excuse.
“The (adult) child must in any case actively search for a job to ensure an independent livelihood,” Giancola said.
In a 2019 study from the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat), some 64.3% of Italy’s young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 still live at home with their parents. Of these young adults, only 36.5% are students and 38.2% are employed, while 23.7% are in search of a job.
Additionally, youth unemployment stands at around 30% among Italians between 15 and 24 years old, according to Istat.
Gian Ettore Gassani, head of the Italian Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, welcomed the court’s ruling.
“It’s a cultural, pedagogical sentence, it is a warning for everyone in this country,” Gassani told CNN.
He added that it will encourage young adults “to walk on their own legs.The lawyer also said that there are hundreds of thousands of similar cases and that one of three divorce claims are related to the financial support of the couple’s adult children.”
The court “has put some limits to avert the always more endless request of financial support also by children in their forties… Italy is not the only country to experience these requests from adult children” Gassani said, quoting similar statistics in southern European countries such as Spain and France, “but it’s definitively the worst.”
The phenomenon is so common in Italy that former Prime Minister Mario Monti nicknamed it “bamboccioni,” meaning “big babies,” to identify the generation of young Italians who still live at home in their late thirties.
“Italian young people must be more courageous, must find the will to take risks,” Gassani said, “but that’s difficult if your mum keeps on bringing you a cup of coffee to bed every morning.”