Italian Court Let Father Pay Child Support with Pizza

By Mike Pomranz |

© John Kernick

It’s the kind of story that could only come from Italy: In a recently uncovered ruling, a judge decided that a divorced pizza chef could continue paying his alimony in the form of freshly-made pies. No word on if specific toppings were stipulated.

According to the Telegraph, though news of bizarre decision first broke over the weekend thanks to a reporter at the Italian paper Il Gazzettino, the original decision actually came down in 2011. “I was just sifting through the court records and I saw someone acquitted of not paying child support, which you don’t see very often,” longtime journalist Lino Lava, was quoted as saying. “When I saw the pizza angle, it was such an oddity, I knew I had to write it up.”


Odd indeed. Apparently, Nicola Toso divorced Niicoletta Zuin in 2002, and for years, Toso paid child support for their daughter without incident. But in 2008, Italy’s economy took a downturn and the pizza maker, who by then had remarried and had three more children, had trouble covering all his expenses – including €400 in child support. At this point, according to judge Chiara Bitozzi, who presided over the case in a court in Padua, “In lieu of money, the defendant offered his ex-wife the same amount of compensation in the form of take-away pizzas from his workplace, an offer promptly rejected as ‘beggar’s change.’”

Not pleased with putting their child (or maybe herself) on an all-pizza diet, Zuin filed a criminal complaint against her former husband. Toso’s lawyer argued that, though he was swapping food for money, he was doing the best he could and was fulfilling all the other terms of his custody agreement. In the end, the judge ruled in Toso’s favor, saying there was no evidence he committed any crime.

As for the pizza, Toso was reportedly forced to close his business in 2010, so, alas, we cannot go try the pizza ourselves to determine whether or not it was as valuable as Toso claimed is was. Though if the place went out of business, how good could this pizza really have been?


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