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High School Girl Claims Parents Cut Her Off At Age 18, Sues Them For College Tuition

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 12:27 PM
  • 26 Replies
A Morris Catholic High School student who claims her parents threw her out of their home has filed a lawsuit seeking a judge’s declaration that she is nonemancipated and dependent as a student on her parents.

In other words, cheerleader and lacrosse player Rachel Canning is suing her parents for immediate financial support. She filed a certification with the court declaring that on Oct. 29, 2013 her parents decided that as of Nov. 1, her 18th birthday, she would be cut off “from all support financially and emotionally.”

Rachel’s lawyer, Tanya N. Helfand, has prepared a list of demands for parents Sean and Elizabeth Canning. Included amongst her demands are that the Cannings pay Rachel’s current living and transportation expenses, and commit an existing college fund to their daughter.

Rachel, who has received several acceptance letters from universities, wants her parents to pay for her college education. The Cannings have stopped paying Rachel’s Morris Catholic tuition bill; the settling of the $5,306 bill is also amongst Helfand’s demands.

Additionally, Helfand has requested that the Cannings pay their daughter’s legal fees, which already total over $12,000.

The high school student has been living with her best friend Jaime Inglesino’s family in Rockaway Township. Jaime’s father, attorney John Inglesino, hired Helfand and is funding the lawsuit.

“My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules,” Rachel states in her court papers, adding also that her parents “stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school.”

Sean Canning, meanwhile, maintains that his daughter is presenting a skewed version of what happened in the family. He has said that Rachel was never thrown out – instead, she voluntarily left home in October.

Sean has said that he fears his daughter is being “enabled” by “well-intentioned but ill-informed people”, including the Inglesinos.

“We love our child and miss her,” Canning has said. “This is terrible. It’s killing me and my wife. We have a child we want home.”

He stated that Rachel moved out because she didn’t want to abide by ordinary, simple household rules, such as adherence to a curfew and regularly completing chores. He has also said that Rachel’s college fund is available to her and has not, as she claimed, been withdrawn or re-allocated.

In court, Helfand explained that when processing claims for emancipation, New Jersey state law examines whether the child in question “has obtained an independent status of his or her own.” Thus, merely turning 18 years old is not an automatic reason to stop financial support.

“A child is not emancipated until they’re on their own,” said family-law attorney Sheldon Simon, who added that this lawsuit is highly unusual. “Even if a child and the parents don’t get along, that doesn’t relieve the parents of their responsibility.”

Also included in the court record is a letter from Morris Catholic English instructor and campus minister Kathleen Smith, who claims she witnessed a “rough encounter” between Rachel and her mother in October. According to Smith, Elizabeth told Rachel that she didn’t want to speak to her daughter again.

Contradicting this record is Sean Canning’s statement that a Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) representative visited their home last fall. The representative found nothing amiss, “determined that Rachel was ‘spoiled’ and discontinued the investigation.”

Canning has also said that his daughter had been seeing a therapist before moving out, and is supposed to be taking medication.

Rachel and Helfand are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

Sources: http://www.usatoday.com, http://www.nydailynews.com
by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 12:27 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Coconutty4Hubby
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 12:31 PM
I moved out of my mommy and daddy's house when I was 17! I graduated high school and moved out 20 days later!
This little girl is an entitled brat, she's been spoiled her whole life! This is what's sad about the newer generation, I'm about 10 years older than her, I would never have sued my parents 10 years ago, I didn't even have to ask permission to move out, I just said I was moving to Ar. and then I was going to get a job, and they said good luck.
My mom paid for one semester of my college, about a year later, but she saw that I was working full time and I didn't live with them! She never paid again, but when your parents see you doing your best on your own, they typically give you a little help.
shuturpiehole
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:41 PM
1 mom liked this

I love how just about EVERY single comment I read is totally believing the parents and accusing the girl of lying and being a brat. It seems that even with the thousands of news stories a day about parents abusing their kids, lying about it, throwing their kids out, neglecting them, etc. everyone just won't believe that that MIGHT be the case here.

Did it ever occur to you that her parents might have tried to micro-manage her total life, and when she tried to assert herself and make some choices on her OWN they refused to give her that freedom (which at 17 and 18 she NEEDS) and they threw her out for not bowing down and letting them control her whole life?

HER parents enrolled her in Catholic school. THEY are responsible for paying the tuition. And nobody has even asked this: did she contribute to her college fund? If so she DEFINATELY has a right to that money.

If the college fund is available to her like her parents say, why is she suing for it to be made available? A judge wouldn't have allowed the lawsuit if there wasn't at least SOME merit to it.

I will wait to bash the teen and call her an entitled brat until I see more info about the PARENTS part in this. Just because they are her parents, it doesn't mean they aren't lying about what happened, and it doesn't mean they were at all right in what they did.


romalove
by Roma on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:47 PM
NJ is one of four states to assert parental responsibility through age 21 for school support. However, cases have all been divorces where noncustodial parents have been made to pay support through college. This case will perhaps see how far this responsibility goes.
4evrinbluejeans
by KK on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:52 PM
2 moms liked this

I'm personally interested to see where this goes.

If the courts rule a parent is not required to financially support their child through high school that certainly could pose a real impact on child support cases in the future.  

Quoting romalove: NJ is one of four states to assert parental responsibility through age 21 for school support. However, cases have all been divorces where noncustodial parents have been made to pay support through college. This case will perhaps see how far this responsibility goes.


FlowerGirl777
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 3:37 PM
1 mom liked this

There is probably a lot more here than what is reported. But I know you have to put your parents income down in a FAFSA until you are 24. 

Mom and Dad sound flaky - if they put her in private high school, they should not leave the school hanging. 

btamilee
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 4:44 PM
2 moms liked this

 

Quoting shuturpiehole:

I love how just about EVERY single comment I read is totally believing the parents and accusing the girl of lying and being a brat. It seems that even with the thousands of news stories a day about parents abusing their kids, lying about it, throwing their kids out, neglecting them, etc. everyone just won't believe that that MIGHT be the case here.

Did it ever occur to you that her parents might have tried to micro-manage her total life, and when she tried to assert herself and make some choices on her OWN they refused to give her that freedom (which at 17 and 18 she NEEDS) and they threw her out for not bowing down and letting them control her whole life?

HER parents enrolled her in Catholic school. THEY are responsible for paying the tuition. And nobody has even asked this: did she contribute to her college fund? If so she DEFINATELY has a right to that money.

If the college fund is available to her like her parents say, why is she suing for it to be made available? A judge wouldn't have allowed the lawsuit if there wasn't at least SOME merit to it.

I will wait to bash the teen and call her an entitled brat until I see more info about the PARENTS part in this. Just because they are her parents, it doesn't mean they aren't lying about what happened, and it doesn't mean they were at all right in what they did.

Were you aware the state officials stepped in and found NO signs of abuse.  They interviewed all parties, and visited the house.  She was NOT kicked out, she was told she had to go by their house rules, do her chores, and be in by curfew.  She did not like the rules....and she opted to *run away*.  They have said she is more than welcome back, but must go by their rules.  I say....if she doesn't like their rules...then she should get a job, go to public school....and get on with her adult life.  She is 18, she isn't entitled to mommy and daddies hard earned money anymore.  I think this young lady is in for a huge surprise when she finds out how difficult life can be on her own...

btamilee
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 4:50 PM

 

Quoting FlowerGirl777:

There is probably a lot more here than what is reported. But I know you have to put your parents income down in a FAFSA until you are 24. 

Mom and Dad sound flaky - if they put her in private high school, they should not leave the school hanging. 

 She was the one who wanted to go to that particular school.  I do believe as long as she is at home, her parents should pay for the high school until graduation.  The minute she moved out....she assumed mom and dad would still financially support her, but apparently she assumed wrong.  I read she filed suit when she found out they were refusing to give her the money they had put aside for her college tuition.  As for the school....she isn't really leaving the school hanging, she graduates in a few months...one way or the other, I am sure they will get their money! 

Mommabearbergh
by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 4:57 PM
This is going to blow up in her face
Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 5:04 PM

It could also have impact on financial aid as well.

As it stands now, we as my child's mother and father must report OUR OWN INCOME to determine elgibility for financial aid for college. My 'child" is 18 nearly 19 years old. 

Because we make 'too much money" my adult child will never be able to go to college if not for dh and me.

Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I'm personally interested to see where this goes.

If the courts rule a parent is not required to financially support their child through high school that certainly could pose a real impact on child support cases in the future.  

Quoting romalove: NJ is one of four states to assert parental responsibility through age 21 for school support. However, cases have all been divorces where noncustodial parents have been made to pay support through college. This case will perhaps see how far this responsibility goes.


Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 5:06 PM


Quoting btamilee:


Quoting FlowerGirl777:

There is probably a lot more here than what is reported. But I know you have to put your parents income down in a FAFSA until you are 24. 

Mom and Dad sound flaky - if they put her in private high school, they should not leave the school hanging. 

 She was the one who wanted to go to that particular school.  I do believe as long as she is at home, her parents should pay for the high school until graduation.  The minute she moved out....she assumed mom and dad would still financially support her, but apparently she assumed wrong.  I read she filed suit when she found out they were refusing to give her the money they had put aside for her college tuition.  As for the school....she isn't really leaving the school hanging, she graduates in a few months...one way or the other, I am sure they will get their money! 

Re: private schools, if the bill is not paid, she will not be able to graduate. The school will hold her diploma until her tutition bill is paid.

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