ROME (Reuters) - In a ruling that has sent a shiver down many parents’ spines, Italy’s highest appeals court has decreed that fathers must carry on supporting adult children until they find a job to their liking.
The case revolves around a wealthy family in the southern city of Naples, where the father is still paying some $680 a month in maintenance to a son who is in his 30s and has a university law degree.
The son also has a trust fund worth some $220,000, lives in one of the smartest parts of the city, and has turned down several job offers.
This is the opposite end of the spectrum my son is on. The child support order only decrees that his father help support him until he’s 18, regardless of the fact that my son will not even graduate high school until he’s well past 18 1/2, since his birthday was after the cut-off date for entering first grade. And we’re not even talking about sending the boy to college. It’s sad to think that this son of a wealthy father will have to take loans and grants to even go to college.
Both extremes are ridiculous. My son’s father should be obligated for half his son’s reasonable education, and that Italian slacker needs to be cut off.
I do not think the father or the mother should be legally responsible, financially for any offspring, once the offspring are legally an adult. If that happens to be six months before the end of high school, so be it. I do think they’re morally responsible, in some cases, but legal responsibility is another matter.
If a parent is not willing to help pay expenses relating to their own child’s education because of a divorce from the child’s other parent (which should not have one whit nor one cent to do with taking care of one’s children) then the laws and regulations regarding financial aid should allow children of divorce to ignore that parent’s financial status when they file for aid.
Is that the case? It’s been many, many a year since I dealt with financial aid.
My parents could’ve paid for my college, but they didn’t. I paid my own way via the GI Bill and student loans. I think it made me feel more like a grown-up.
Look at it this way…your son will become an adult at 18. What if he doesn’t go to college right away? Let’s say he takes a couple of years off to “find himself.” Should dad be obligated for half of the costs when your son is 20?
Should you be?
Being an adult means being responsible for yourself…financially and otherwise. You can’t have the bennies of being an adult without incurring the responsibilities as well.
Of course, helping one’s child out with college is commendable–but it’s not, nor should it be, mandatory.
You’ve got a point. The problem would be in determining which divorced parents (and for that matter, married parents) were actually unwilling, and which would just say they were unwilling to increase the chance of the child getting financial aid. When I was in college, the rules for filing as an independent student changed for a similar reason. Originally,the only verifiable requirement to file independently was that the parents didn’t claim the student as a tax exemption for two years. The rules changed to make it difficult for a student under 22 to ignore their parents income unless the student was either married or had a child.
While I certainly would agree that parents should not generally be legally responsible for adult children, I don’t have a problem with support orders in divorces being based on what the two parents agreed on during their marriage. A parent shouldn’t be responsible for any support after 18 if during the marriage they were of the “After 18, you’re on your own” school. If on the other hand, the parents while married were assisting their college student , or expected their children to support themselves only after leaving high school , I don’t see why the divorce settlement (in that particular case, not as a rule) shouldn’t reflect the situation.
I posted to the other thread on this topic and I thought I’d chime in here too. Sorry to everyone for repeating myself.
What I’m curious about is the flip side of this equation. I was tremendously spoiled and my family (parents AND grandparents) paid my way through my bachelor’s degree with no questions asked. From the time I went to kindergarten, I knew that they would pay for my education. And there was no doubt that I was going to college. I just assumed it.
However, there are COSTS to being taken care of. Please, don’t start throwing rocks at me yet. I’m not suggesting that I had it rough or anything. But when someone is supporting you financially, you have certain obligations to them. As I became an adult, it became apparent that I wanted to make my own decisions and thus, support myself. I’m a bit shocked at the thought that a 20+ year old adult would still want to be under mamma and daddy’s care.
My parents desperately wanted me to move back in with them after I graduated from college. I chose to support myself and make my own decisions, rather than pay the “costs” of being financially dependent. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, or that some peoples’ relationships with their parents make it easier for them to get further help after this point in their lives. But it seems to me there should be some sort of “cut off point” from the point of view of the dependent as well as those who are depended on.
Of course, that’s a different situation than kicking someone out on their own with nothing when they’re 18. Because of my background, it’s hard for me to decide where I think that “cut off” should come…I had it so easy.
Until a student is 24/married/has a child, the financial aid office of their school will consider the income of both parents and both step-parents when figuring out the students financial aid package.
So if someone’s father (and it is usually the father in these cases) goes off and remarries, then his income, and his new wife’s income will count against the student, even if they refuse to pay a cent. The worst part is that the student must somehow get a copy of the tax returns of both parents and step-parents. The financial aid office at the school I went to wouldn’t even begin looking at my folder until all the tax returns were in.
And it doesn’t necessarily end when the studen turns 24. The financial aid office at my school still wanted my parent’s tax returns even after I turned 24.
I think the problem with child support is that men and women seem to see it differently. Women see it as something to support the child in the same way that the two parents would have supported him if they’d stayed together. Men seem to think that the bare minimum that will keep the child fed and clothed is enough. Also, and I realize that this is sexist, but I believe it’s true, men seem to want to have enough left in their paycheck to go off and re-marry and raise another family.
I’m pretty sure that in Texas the basic rule is that child support continues until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes last.
And SexyWriter I know exactly what you’re talking about. As long as I can remember my parents guaranteed that my education would be paid for all the way up to MD, law degree, or PhD. I quickly came to realize that that free ticket came with a huge price tag. My father made a big deal out of having all of his sons have one of the above degrees, and he was willing to control everything in order to achieve his own dream, “As long as you’re living off my bank account you’ll abide by my rules.”
I got as far as a Master’s after which I said, “Screw this and screw you!” Getting out from under his control was the most liberating thing that ever happened to me, although there was no sort of cathartic moment. It took a few years for him to realize that he was not longer able to call the shots and for me to accept that I was my own person, but eventually we worked it out, and today have a very good relationship.
I’ve heard that kids in Italy will live at home into their late 20’s or early 30’s, and maybe not get their own place until they get married (if then). This is based on a tour guide, so I’m not saying it’s the “truth”.
If so, does that change the situation? If the mother is still supporting the child, should the father still pay child support?
A question: isn’t this pre-judging his father’s intent? Just because he doesn’t have a requirement written down in black and white? He could still support his son through college. Denigrating him about something he hasn’t done yet (not supporting his college expenses) is 1) not giving him credit as a human being and 2) deliberately causing hard feelings where none exist. If he DOESN’T support your son in college, THEN you have the right to condemn him for his lack of support…but not before.
What’s more accurate is: men seem to want to have enough left in their paycheck to buy food, pay rent, see a movie every now and then with their kids…
And yes, maybe even go on with their lives. What’s wrong with that?
(Your statement does seem a little sexist, but I can also see the logic behind it, and BTW, I tend to agree to a point.)
What’s frustrating is this: (example from my experience): my ex-wife and her husband, with her salary, his wages, his Social Security benefits, and my child support were making over $100K per year. They bought a nice 5-bedroom split-level house and took yearly vacations to go skiing, Bahamas, etc…as I watched from my $200/month basement apartment, sans phone, insurance, savings, etc (hard to do anything else on my left-over wages of $500/month).
I started a thread on this in the Temp Board, and for those who posted there: I’m getting the divorce info ASAP to post for your perusal. And for those who didn’t see that thread, please understand that I truly hate those men who dodge and duck their Child Support responsibilities (I said they should be hung upside down on the wall, with rusty nails).