Bamboccioni: Italian Court Orders Father To Pay For His 28-Year-Old Son’s Advanced Degree Education

tumblr_md0qu0Pggt1qggdq1In Italy, there is a term “bamboccioni” or chubby child or big babies to refer to children who are staying with their parents for longer and longer periods into their adult years. One decision however has shocked many Italians in Modena in Northern Italy where a court ordered a middle-aged father to keep supporting his 28-year-old son financially. The son wants another academic degree and the court held that the father remains liable for the costs.

The father is divorced and living on a modest income through his writings. However, the court rejected his argument that, at 28-years-old, his son should get a job and support himself. The son has already completed a degree in literature though taking additional time to do so. He now wants to enroll in a post-graduate course in experimental cinema in Bologna. The father will be required to pay for that advanced degree.

Most parents would continue to pay for the education of their son if they could do so. However, after a boy reaches the age of majority or finishes high school, that obligation becomes a discretionary matter. In other words, if you want to get Daddy to pay for your experimental cinema advanced degree, you have to convince Daddy.

20 thoughts on “Bamboccioni: Italian Court Orders Father To Pay For His 28-Year-Old Son’s Advanced Degree Education”

  1. They made the folks of some thirty something girl give her an allowance a few years ago. Cuz she was living at home ( not disabled). Thats why i cringed at obamacare until you are 26 mom and can dad pay. It is just a matter before a court here says parents ” must” until 26.

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  3. Hehe. Paul, I wonder if that kid could have handled a degree in one of those fields. It looks like he already took “several years longer than expected” to get his Lit degree. The sad thing is that someone could find a job and support himself (and even have a very successful career) with a degree in film studies or whatever. The problem is that it’s just not nearly so likely as with a degree in a STEM field or in accounting or any of the more in-demand fields.

    The real problem in this case appears to be that the father signed (or was forced to sign) a divorce decree that was very open-ended in this regard. It may be a perfectly reasonable thing for a father to agree, “I will pay for your college tuition and typical college living expenses until you get a bachelor’s degree or you turn 24, whichever occurs first.” It’s a whole other story to agree to something ambiguous like, “I will pay for your post-secondary education.” This father may well have had a lazy lawyer or was too eager to sign something and be done with his divorce proceedings. Now he is stuck funding his son’s “failure to launch”.

  4. I love a good outrage as much as the next person, but there is quite a bit LESS to this than meets the eye. Most of this discussion is going on as though Italy has now determined that any adult child can decide to get a doctorate in Blah Blah Whatever studies and send the bill to his parents. Though I won’t pretend to have dug into the details, that is not what actually happened.

    Just reading the linked article, this father, as part of a divorce settlement, was obligated to pay for his son’s tertiary (college) education. So, there is a prior financial obligation in play here that is specific to this case. What this ruling is about was whether the obligation covered education past the son’s initial (in U.S. terms) bachelor’s degree. Apparently, the court ruled that it did. I don’t know what the wording of the original divorce settlement was and I don’t know what reasoning the court used to reach its conclusion about how that applied here.

    There may still be some reason for outrage. But, the implications of this case are far less broad than people seem to think.

    1. freedomfan – you are right on the nose in your analysis of the article. I think divorce degrees will now all include the stipulation that the child take a degree in something that they can be hired in. 😉

  5. It would be literature and experimental cinema.

    You won’t find STEM student doing that, they have too much sense of self-sufficiency and value.

    1. Gary T – now that this case was won you will see a rush of cases to the court and some will be STEM students. They have no pride. 😉

  6. steveg:

    What if the parent was an alcoholic who ruined his kids’ lives? Cheated on their mom? Got in fights at all their Little League games? Beat them? What if their mom did drugs all day? In prison? Gambled all their money away? Out of all the millions of people in our country, some are going to be really super and some not so nice. What about all the horrible moms you read about on the news? Can you imagine if her kids were forced to support her forever? Octomom would make out like a bandit.

    Government should stay out of it. It’s not their job. Stick to roads and bridges.

  7. Elmer:

    “I agree with Mike’s last sentence. I am for tuition free community colleges and perhaps tuition free state colleges or universities.”

    I hear this a lot.

    #1 There are a lot of stuff that we want made available for free. There is a really really long list, in fact. But there are finite resources to pay for it. So we have to prioritize. Things like women’s shelters, infrastructure, security (life and death stuff) come first. Then all the rest. There may not be money to pay for it. How much more in taxes would you, personally, be willing to spend to make college free for all? And would it be an undergraduate degree or advanced degree? Would you be willing to pay $5,000 more a year?
    #2 Free stuff drives up the cost. The government is notorious for overpaying for what is under delivered. Without parents and students voting with their dollars, what will happen to quality? We have already seen the decline in the quality of public education with the rise of teacher tenure. Bad teachers are a death knell to the future careers of their students, but we’re stuck with them. And it has been so hard to get alternatives like charter schools. The Teachers Union is very a very powerful force in politics, and they fight with everything they have to remove parent choice. How would higher education be affected if we adopted the same system? What about professors who have views contrary to the government ruling elite? Will they be allowed to teach?
    #3 People do not value free stuff. If a student had to scrimp and save to be there, he is not going to skip class. He’s gong to buckle down and get it done. If it’s free, there are many people who will just blow it off and not take it seriously. What’s it to them if they take longer to graduate or drop out? What did they lose? The kids who earn a scholarship through hard work value that scholarship, but kids who have it tossed to them for free tend to treat it like that expensive car rich parents give their kids. They crash it and just get another one for free.
    #4 Not everyone is suited for college. Trade schools make the world go round. If everyone got a college degree, who would get the training in mechanics, construction, and other fields? That’s what happened in Egypt. You have a lot of people with degrees who want to be management, and no one wants to do anything else. So they get bored, have high unemployment, and get into trouble. And then there is no one to fix your car or your refrigerator or run the utility companies.

    Instead of making college free for everyone, rich and poor, we ALREADY have a system in place that makes it fair. We have scholarships to help the poor get a college education.

    What we do need is to rein in the cost of college, which is skyrocketing. In fact, as we have subsidized college education, the costs have soared. They have expanded their administration and salaries. They raise tuition at the same time that they give themselves a raise. It’s like solar panels. When the government offers rebates, the price goes up because they know customers have more money to spend.

    Why would you push to make college free for the rich???

    “One thing to note is that US colleges that don’t accept Federal loans have tuition roughly half of their similarly-ranked peers.”

    Another example is Obamacare. Government subsidized it for the poor, but once they got their foot in the door, they required all health plans to offer identical benefits. So the cost of healthcare skyrocketed. The middle class on individual policies now severely ration their health care because they cannot afford the absurdly high deductible. So many insurance companies lost enough money they exited the exchanges, leaving an essential monopoly on health insurance. In CA, we only have a couple of insurance providers now. The poor have worthless insurance cards, because the best doctors won’t accept their plans. Doctors prefer employer plans over individual Obamacare plans, which come with a 30-50% pay cut.

    Honestly, we need to learn from our mistakes and stop growing government bungling! Seriously! Stop “helping”! You’re making a mess!

  8. This is a country where it is not unusual for men to live at home until they are in their 40s. Mom cooks and does their laundry. They also sue for allowances.

  9. Also, if kids are considered dependent until the age of 26 (or 28 in Italy), then that should mean that they are still bound to their parents’ rules.

    If they are children in the eyes of the law in one aspect, then they should be children in all aspects. If you can be forced to financially support your children when they are 28, then by golly you can pick their degree, college, friends, curfew, and anything else you deem appropriate for your child.

  10. And I also think that in the US, there should be one age of majority.

    I think it’s absurd the you can get married and go to war, but not rent a car or drink alcohol. Find an age when someone is an adult, and stick to it, for all things. Maybe the age of majority should be 21, or maybe everything should be allowed at 18. Or 20. Or whatever. But pick one!

  11. The conservative view is personal responsibility. Parents pay for what they can, but kids are expected to grow up and become self sufficient.

    The ultra Left Wing Liberal view is this – parents are on the hook to pay forever, and a 26 year old is considered a dependent for medical insurance. Once again, these stories are what has made me embittered to the cause of ultra Liberalism. Give me a conservative Democrat any day, but Liberalism is not what it used to be.

    If you’re 18, and you want a degree in basket weaving, your parents do not have to pay for it. If your parents do not agree with your plans when you are 18, then you make it happen yourself. You bootstrap it. My grandpa left home at 16 because there were too many mouths to feed during the Depression, hopped a train, and worked in various states before achieving a middle class life. We WANT our kids to be able to survive without us, to be able to overcome adversity, to keep pushing to succeed. This trend of creating lifelong dependents is going to bite us, hard, because no one lives forever. What are these people going to do once their parents are gone? Live on the street? Who will make their cardboard box shelter for them?

    And I am wondering if the same court will force people to financially support the parents who ruined themselves supporting them into middle age.

  12. The Italian dad should apply to immigrate to the U.S. as an “economic refugee,” lol.

    Seriously, it’s ridiculous that a parent, regardless of wealth, should be required to pay for a film degree for a 28 year-old. I could see a parent of middle-class or better status being required to pay for community college or state college until the age of 21, but that’s it. And even there, the parent should be allowed some input, since it is his (or her) investment. I’ve had many friends whose parents would only pay for college if their child majored in accounting, engineering or nursing. A middle-class parent should not have to pay for a child’s education that is just an extended adolescence and will not lead to economic self-sufficiency. Nor should the taxpayers. I am all for free community college, but after that, free education should be limited to majors where there is a demonstrated job need.

  13. “how much education do citizens need to be effective today?”
    We need to know what others have already figured out so that we are not always trying to re-invent the wheel. We also need to understand words that describe concepts so that we can communicate large amounts of information in a short time/space. Normal folks, even at a young age, can learn that on-line. Those with learning disorders need special tutors. Universities with land campuses are like vacation resorts. They are beautiful to look at, fun to be in, and provide jobs, but nobody needs them for education.

  14. There is a Family Code series of statutes in this state founded on the notion that adult children have a duty to care for their parents if they’re in need:

    Section 4400 – “Except as otherwise provided by law, an adult child shall, to the extent of his or her ability, support a parent who is in need and unable to maintain himself or herself by work.”

    Section 4403 states in part that the county can bring the complaint, and if the parent is on county aid the county can compel reimbursement from the child,

    Be nice, kids.

  15. I agree with Mike’s last sentence. I am for tuition free community colleges and perhaps tuition free state colleges or universities. But I am not at all for making a parent pay for an adult offspring’s education after age 18 and perhaps age 21 and the amount should be calculated to something reasonable. No Harvard or Yale for Sonnyboy Floyd. Pink Floyd is more accurate on the topic. Anyone recall the lyrics to the Pink Floyd song about education?
    “We don’t need no ed u cation!
    We don’t need no thought control!
    All in all its..
    Just a blip in the road!”

  16. “We all pay for the community colleges and state run colleges and so called “universities”. We all pay for the football, basketball, and other sports at those so called colleges and universities. Enough is enough.”

    We have already decided that public education is a legitimate function of government.

    It seems to me that the consideration should begin with the question of how much education do citizens need to be effective today.

    At one time eighth grade was sufficient for many citizens. At one time a high school degree was sufficient for many. Is that sufficient today? Or would we do better today if every citizen were given the opportunity to complete a jobs program or some college?

    I doubt that an exceptional nation can afford a second rate educational system or under-educated citizens.

  17. Eighteen, Up and Out!

    There should be no obligation for a parent to pay for anything after a human reaches age 18. In America that human can now vote. They ought to be able to drink booze but that is not a parental matter anymore.
    All parents and all taxpayers pay for college for others in every state in America. We all pay for the community colleges and state run colleges and so called “universities”. We all pay for the football, basketball, and other sports at those so called colleges and universities. Enough is enough.

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