Children in Italy win the legal right not to visit their grandparents
- Italy’s top court ruled kids could no longer be forced to see their grandparents
- The ruling found that the rights of the children should outweigh those of the grandparents in scenarios involving ‘an unwelcome and unwanted relationship’
Italy’s top court has ruled that children are under no obligation to see their grandparents and cannot be forced to do so.
The ruling, made in Italy’s Court of Cassation, came in response to an appeal brought by the parents of two children against an earlier decision made by a juvenile court in Milan.
That court stipulated that the youngsters had to spend time with their paternal grandparents after the elderly couple complained the children’s parents had ‘established obstacles’ preventing them from maintaining contact amid an ongoing family feud.
The juvenile court in 2019 ordered social worker-supervised meetings between the children and the grandparents in spite of the parents’ objections, and an attempt on the parents’ behalf to appeal the decision failed.
But the Court of Cassation this week overturned the decision, recognising that while there is ‘no doubt’ that the two children would ‘benefit from a bond with the articulated line of generations’, the children themselves had expressed their distaste at being forced to see their grandparents given their fractured relationship.
Kids in Italy are no longer under any obligation to see their grandparents, a court has ruled (stock image)
The ruling found that the rights of the children should outweigh those of the grandparents in scenarios involving ‘an unwelcome and unwanted relationship’.
Children aged over 12 are capable of discerning whether they want to maintain a relationship with their grandparents and cannot be forced to do so, it said.
Cristina Maggia, president of the minor’s court in Brescia, told Italian outlet Vita in response to the decision: ‘Children must be able to have relationships with grandparents and other family members if these relationships are useful and productive of well-being for the child himself.
‘If this is not the case, if the relationship is imposed on the children, there is no right for the grandparents to maintain a relationship with the grandchildren.’
In Italy, grandparents can request that a court order parents to arrange for their kids to see their grandparents if it is in the child’s interests. This was introduced in part to remedy situations in which divorced couples refused to let their kids see grandparents from the other side of the family (stock pic)
Under a 2006 law, grandparents in Italy who are prevented from seeing their grandchildren by the children’s parents maintain the right to request that a court investigate whether such restrictions are damaging to the child’s wellbeing.
If the court determines the children’s wellbeing is infringed upon, it can order the parents to allow their kids to attend routine visits with their grandparents in the presence of social workers.
This law was introduced in part to ensure kids whose parents had divorced or otherwise split up could still maintain a connection to their ascendants in the event that one or both parents refused to allow them to see the grandparents from the other side of the family.
A similar article established in 2013 in Italy’s civil code reinforced this, but the Court of Cessation in 2018 specified that grandparents did not have an ‘unconditional right’ to see their grandkids.
From then on, any cases involving disputes over whether grandparents should be able to see their kids would be examined by a judge based on the ‘exclusive interests of the minor’.
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