Rachel Canning Sues Parents For College Tuition: Does She Have a Case?

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Rachel Canning, a New Jersey teen, says her parents kicked her out of the house. Now she's suing them for financial support, private school and college tuition.

The parents, meanwhile, say their daughter moved out voluntarily after refusing to abide by their rules and has no right to demand anything from them in return.

Rachel Canning Photo
Rachel Canning, a New Jersey teen, is suing her parents for cash and college tuition.

“We love our child and miss her. This is terrible. It’s killing me and my wife,” Rachel's father, Sean Canning, a town administrator and retired police officer, said.

“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."

"She's saying, ‘I don’t want to live under your rules.’”

The rules, Sean Canning notes, include reconsidering her relationship with a boyfriend who may be a bad influence, being respectful, and abiding by her curfew.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, who live in suburban Lincoln Park, about 25 miles outside of New York City, have kept their daughter’s car because they paid for it.

He admits ceasing payments on Rachel's tuition at private Morris Catholic High School. A hearing is scheduled for today in Morris County Superior Court.

It gets even weirder than this makes it sound.

For months, Rachel, an honor student, cheerleader, and lacrosse player, has been living with the family of her best friend and classmate, Jaime Inglesino.

Jaime's father, attorney John Inglesino, is bankrolling Rachel’s lawsuit, and requesting in the lawsuit that the Cannings reimburse him for the legal fees.

In the suit, Rachel also alleges that her parents decided to cut her off “from all support both financially and emotionally” as of her 18th birthday, November 1.

Her suit also demands the following:

  • That the Cannings take care of an outstanding $5,306 Morris Catholic tuition bill
  • That the couple pays their daughter’s current living and transportation expenses
  • That they free up her college fund; she’s already been accepted several places

It’s not unheard of for youngsters to take legal action against parents for various offenses, but this is a gray legal area that hasn't been widely explored.

Mary Coogan, assistant director of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New Jersey, says of the unusual case, "There’s really no law directly on point.”

“This young woman is actually saying, ‘I want the court to compel my parents to continue to support me financially. That’s what’s unique in this case."

What families in similar situations have done is file for what’s called a “family crisis petition,” in which the court will try to mediate an agreeable outcome.

Indeed, talking the situation through would be a much better route than a lawsuit, says Kenneth Neumann, a New York divorce mediator and psychologist.

Unfortunately for Rachel, Neumann says, “I don’t think she has much of a case. This sounds like just an 18-year-old who got into a thing with her parents.”

What do you think? Does she have any legal basis for the lawsuit?

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Little girl unaware with the dirty world, let her go she definately comes back...

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So sad to see this happening. I grew up in a poor family. My parents couldn't send me to expensive schools, buy me new clothes, or even keep a roof over our heads. So I should sue my parents too? Spoiled kid. You're old enough to know how to sue, I'm sure you could figure out how to fill out a job application. That's how you do it when you're grown up and make your own rules. As for everyone who says "but she's honor roll", she's been suspended, drinking, and kicked off of every team she was on. Parents caused that? Maybe her boyfriend? She's 18, she doesn't live there anymore. Cut her off. Sink or swim.

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What an ungrateful, lazy, backstabbing spoiled little girl. Go get a job like we all did when we went to college! Obviously "honor" your father and mother does not apply to this "honor" student. God help her new boyfriend or girlfriend-if she would pursue this BS against her own parents, imagine what she would do to anyone else!

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I am embarrassed to be from this country. This is why all the top tier companies look out of this country for talent. Look, the fact is they are going to have another hearing about this crap which is sad. My recommendation for the nanny state it is butt out. The best thing for this kid is to experience real life for a while. You cannot be both completely independent and dependent. You earn the ability to make the kind of choices she is talking about. The most sad part of the entire thing is that She is an adult, and can do this, and doesn't even realize if she wins she loses. However part of me wants her to win. I'll start suing random people to pay for my crap too.

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Rachel..Welcome to the Real World. You want to be Independent from your parent's rules..then figure it out! And parents ..WAKE UP T00! There should be many more parents out there who take a Tough Stand with their children. Rachel's parents may have waited a bit late to introduce her to what financial responsibility is as many parents have; however, this does NOT entitle Miss Rachel to take her parents to court. What a Brat...Get a job, Rachel, and see what is to EARN an income. My 2 daughters are 19 & 17 and both started working their junior year of high school, while mainaining great grades, having boyfriends, and still manage a social life..Wake up Rachel! It can be done and SHOULD Be done. I hate to see what our future is going to look like for "this entitlement mentality". Who will be the BACKBONE of America. This story really ticks me off.

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a couple dozen with a freshly oiled bullwhip would have solved the whole matter, long before it got this far! Spare the rod?.... not in her case!

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Why doesn't her lawyer " landlord" pay her tuition if he so interested in her welfare?

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Daddy used to get me drunk, kiss me, turned me into an emotional wreck bulimic??   Does the story get any more diabolical? Then the parents refuting that none of this true, and that the daughter tried to set her father up with a new woman and that she was breaking curfews, hanging out with her boyfriend into the wee hours.... suspended from school twice for underage drinking? Is this really a lawsuit for financial support or a battle cry for a lost soul??  http://scallywagandvagabond.co...

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Here are some other options for Rachel. Give thanks for your health, a home with food, safety and shelter. Thank God for the blessings. Ask for a 2nd chance to be a grateful daughter. Take a step back Rachel. The REAL world awaits you and we don't owe you a free car, food, home, private schooling..what awaits you is what you make of your life. Right now what you are choosing is to be entitled. The road ahead looks dark for you.

Kelsey-ulm
@ Guest

Couldn't agree with you more !!!!

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If she wants to act like an adult then she needs to get a job. Parents don't have any obligation for her. She wants everything handed to her and she's gunna get a good swift kick in the ass by reality when her "friend's father" kicks her dumb as out too.

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@ Fee

*ass

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