- A New Jersey senior is suing her parents for support and college tuition, claiming they kicked her out of the house.
- Rachel Canning’s parents though say she left their home last year of her own accord, not wanting to follow their rules, which included keeping a curfew, doing some chores and reconsidering a boyfriend relationship they disagreed with.
- As a result they stopped paying her private school tuition and took away the car they paid for while she has continued to live with a friend’s family.
- A New Jersey judge heard the case Tuesday and ruled against forcing Canning’s parents to pay weekly child support and put off the decision regarding college tuition for a hearing next month.
- “… what do you do when a child says ‘I don’t want your rules but I want everything under the sun and you to pay for it?’”
MORRISTOWN, N.J. (TheBlaze/AP) — A northern New Jersey honor student who says her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18 is now suing them, asking a court to make them support her and pay for her college tuition.
A judge in Morristown Tuesday ruled against immediately forcing Rachel Canning’s parents — her father a retired police chief — to pay her $650 weekly child support and pay for her remaining year of high school tuition, as she requested in a lawsuit filed last week. Judge Peter Bogaard scheduled a hearing for next month to decide whether to require her parents to pay for Canning’s college tuition.
“Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house?” Bogaard asked.
The New Jersey Star Ledger reported Bogaard’s caution to legal counsel in his initial ruling against an emergency order. It “would represent essentially a new law or a new way of interpreting an existing law,” he said. “A kid could move out and then sue for an XBox, an iPhone or a 60-inch television.”
Watch this report about the judge’s initial ruling from WCBS-TV:
Court documents show frequent causes of parent-teenage tension — boyfriends and alcohol — taken to an extreme. In court filings, there are accusations and denials, but one thing is clear: the girl, who has been labeled as “spoiled,”left home Oct. 30, two days before she turned 18 after a tumultuous stretch during which her parents separated and reconciled and the teen began getting into uncharacteristic trouble at school.
In court filings, Canning’s parents, retired Lincoln Park police Chief Sean Canning and his wife Elizabeth, said their daughter voluntarily left home because she didn’t want to abide by reasonable household rules, such as being respectful, keeping a curfew, doing a few chores and ending a relationship with a boyfriend her parents say is a bad influence. They say that shortly before she turned 18, she told her parents that she would be an adult and could do whatever she wanted.
She said her parents are abusive, contributed to an eating disorder she developed and pushed her to get a basketball scholarship. They say they were supportive, helped her through the eating disorder and paid for her to go to a private school where she would not get as much playing time in basketball as she would have at a public school.
They also say she lied in her court filing and to child welfare workers who are involved in the case.
“We love our child and miss her. This is terrible. It’s killing me and my wife. We have a child we want home. We’re not Draconian and now we’re getting hauled into court. She’s demanding that we pay her bills but she doesn’t want to live at home and she’s saying, ‘I don’t want to live under your rules,’ ” Sean Canning said, according to the Daily Record of Parsippany. “We’re heartbroken, but what do you do when a child says ‘I don’t want your rules but I want everything under the sun and you to pay for it?’”
“Mr. and Mrs. Canning did not tell Rachel to move out; rather they advised her that she is welcome home so long as she abides by their rules under their roof, which is completely reasonable,” the parents’ attorney Laurie Rush-Masuret wrote the court, according to the newspaper. “However, Rachel decided that she does not want to live within her parents’ sphere of influence and voluntarily moved out, essentially emancipating herself. Obviously, she cannot decide she will no longer live within her parents’ sphere of influence and simultaneously seek payment from them for support.”
Rachel Canning been living in Rockaway Township with the family of her best friend. The friend’s father, former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino, is paying for the lawsuit.
Inglesino told the the Daily Record that he and his wife decided to pay for the lawsuit because they fear Canning will lose opportunities for a strong education and a happy future without her parents’ contributions.
A cheerleader and lacrosse player who hopes to become a biomedical engineer, Canning is seeking immediate financial support and wants to force her parents to pay for her college education and more than $5,000 owed for her last semester at Morris Catholic High School. She also wants a judge to declare that she’s non-emancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support.
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