The Italian supreme court has ruled that parents must help pay for the maintenance of their children even when they are qualified and have a degree.

The court ruled that the financial responsibility of the parents could not be judged on the length or success of the childs studies but on the concrete difficulties young people have in finding a real job with a long term contract which offers them financial independence.

The ruling followed a case brought by a recently separated woman who had been awarded 150 per month from her husband to maintain their student son until he reaches 26 years of age. The woman claimed that the chances of her son, who should qualify when he is 25, finding a serious job within a year of taking his degree are very small. The court agreed with her.

On average in Italy young people leave home when they are 28 and six out of ten 34-year olds still live at home. Of the under 30s who have found work in the past year, 50 per cent only have a temporary contract.