Extraordinary expenses for children: they do not necessarily have to be divided equally at 50%
The Italian Supreme Court, the Cassazione, has ruled that the payment of extraordinary expenses for separated children should not necessarily be divided equally, but rather divided based on the available financial resources and work capacity of each party. This decision was made in a recent case where, following a personal separation judgment in Milan, the court assigned the marital home to the ex-wife as the primary guardian of the children and ordered the father to pay €1,100 per child and 80% of documented medical, educational, and cultural expenses.
The father appealed this decision, arguing that the court did not take into account his income or the actual needs of the children, relying instead on presumptions and the mother’s perspective. The Supreme Court, however, affirmed that the determination of periodic maintenance payments must take into account the parents’ income, additional economic factors, savings, property, the children’s current needs, and standard of living, as well as the length of time the children spend with each parent and the economic value of domestic and care tasks performed.
The court also stated that, while the payment of periodic maintenance does not preclude the obligation to contribute to extraordinary expenses, such expenses exceed ordinary living costs and are therefore not easily included in periodic payments. Instead, extraordinary expenses should be determined independently by the judge based on the children’s educational and care needs.
Regarding the distribution of extraordinary expenses, the court noted that such expenses need not necessarily be split equally between the parties, as the criteria for dividing these expenses should depend on each party’s available financial resources and work capacity, rather than a strict fifty-fifty split.
In summary, the Supreme’s Court ‘s ruling confirms that the payment of extraordinary expenses should be determined based on each party’s financial resources and work capacity, rather than a strict fifty-fifty split. It also clarifies that the payment of periodic maintenance does not preclude the obligation to contribute to extraordinary expenses, which should be determined independently by the judge based on the children’s educational and care needs.