In Italy, children cannot be forced into a relationship with grandparents


Italy’s Supreme Court ruled this week, that children cannot be compelled to see their grandparents, if they do not want to. In Italy, grandparents typically have a close relationship with their grandchildren and play an important role in their upbringing and family life.

“The relationship of children with their grandparents is part of the necessary cultural experience that minors must have in view of a complete formation of their personality,” states a 2006 Family Reform Law. However, the latest ruling from the supreme court states that while there is “no doubt” of a “benefit from a bond with the articulated line of generations, an unwelcome and unwanted relationship” cannot be imposed.

The ruling came after a years-long case of grandparents in Milan, insisted it was their right to see the two grandchildren, even though they were in conflict with the kids’ parents. Back in 2019, the grandparents won in juvenile court, which ordered social worker-supervised meetings with the kids despite parent’s objection. In an effort to get the ruling overturned, the parents appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming that the meetings were not well-liked by the kids and contributed to the ongoing family strife. The Court decided that children have the right to decide if they want to maintain a relationship with their grandparents, particularly if they are “capable of discernment” and over the age of 12.

As per reports, the Court of Cessation also ruled in 2018 that seeing their grandkids was not an “unconditional right” for grandparents. Since then, similar cases are examined by a judge based on the “exclusive interests of the minor”. Studies have shown there were 12.3 million grandparents in Italy in 2016 and overall, 20% of them are providing almost daily childcare.