Teenager sues parents for support
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default Teenager sues parents for support

    Do you think these parents should be responsible for supporting their 18 year old daughter and paying for her college if she made the decision to move out and not follow their rules?

    A New Jersey teenager claiming that her mother and father tossed her out of their home and cut her off financially is suing them for immediate support, current private-school fees and future college tuition. The parents, meanwhile, say that daughter Rachel Canning, 18, moved out voluntarily after refusing to abide by their rules.

    ?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, tells the Daily Record. ?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.?? The rules, he 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, says Canning, and he admits that they did stop paying Rachel's tuition at the private Morris Catholic High School. A hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday in the Morris County Superior Court.

    For months, Rachel ? an honor student, cheerleader, and lacrosse player ? has been living with the family of her best friend and classmate, Jaime Inglesino, whose father, attorney John Inglesino, is bankrolling Rachel?s lawsuit. He?s also requesting in the lawsuit that the Cannings reimburse him for the legal fees, so far totaling $12,597, according to the paper.

    Rachel?s attorney, Tanya Helfand, is not taking calls as she prepares for Tuesday's hearing, her office tells Yahoo Shine. Rachel did not return a call from Yahoo Shine, and the Morris County court was closed on Monday due to inclement weather. But the Daily Record reports that, in the suit, Rachel alleges that her parents decided to cut her off ?from all support both financially and emotionally? as of her 18th birthday, which was November 1. Her suit also demands the following of the Cannings: that they take care of an outstanding $5,306 Morris Catholic tuition bill; pay their daughter?s current living and transportation expenses; and free up her existing college fund, as she?s already been accepted to several universities.

    It?s not unheard of for youngsters to take legal action against their parents for various offenses ? from a pregnant Texas teen who sued her parents for allegedly pressuring her to get an abortion, to a pair of Illinois siblings in their 20s who sued their mom (unsuccessfully) for bad mothering. Even so, the Canning case is an extremely unusual one, according to experts in family law. That?s because similar suits typically involve either a divorce situation, with parents disagreeing on a child?s financial support, or a fight for emancipation, in which a teen is declared financially independent from parents.

    ?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,? Mary Coogan, assistant director of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New Jersey, tells Yahoo Shine. ?So this young lady is in a unique situation because it does become very fact-sensitive. There?s really no law directly on point.? What families in similar situations have done, in Coogan?s experience, is to file for what?s called a ?family crisis petition,? in which the court will try to mediate an agreeable outcome between the parents and their child.

    Talking the situation through would be a better route than a lawsuit, Kenneth Neumann, a New York divorce mediator and psychologist with the Center for Mediation & Training, tells Yahoo Shine. ?We often use the legal system as a way to deal with disagreements when we should be using therapy or mediation,? he says, noting that Rachel?s case is ?extremely rare,? and that he?s ?not had a case like this in 30 years,? with the most unique angle being that the parents are not in disagreement. Unfortunately for Rachel, Neumann says, ?I don?t think she has much of a case. This sounds like just another 18-year-old who got into a thing with her parents.?
    Teen Sues Parents for Cash, College Tuition. Does She Have a Case?
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    Um no. Parents are not legally responsible to financially support their adult child who no longer lives at home unless there is some medical reason where they are bound to the child (Such as Down Syndrome). I know many, many parents do not pay for their children's college tuition and it is crazy to try to force a parent to do so.

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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Oh goodness no. If she wins, which i dont think she will, I will be horribly disappointed.

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    Absolutely not!

    When I turned 18 and was in college it was very well understood that even if I was away there was rules that applied to having my parents support me (tuition, room & board - not free money) that I had to behave and when I was home there was a curfew and additional rules.

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    I really want to say, "Hell, no!" but other articles say that the law in New Jersey just might be on her side:

    In New Jersey, emancipation of a child “is a fact-sensitive analysis that looks at whether the child has moved beyond the sphere of influence and responsibility exercised by a parent and has obtained an independent status of his or her own,” Helfand said in court papers.

    The mere fact that a child has turned 18 is not an automatic reason to stop financial support, according to Helfand and several longtime family attorneys in Morris County. A key court decision in the state specifies that, “A child’s admittance and attendance at college will overcome the rebuttable presumption that a child may be emancipated at age 18.”

    Prominent family-law attorneys Sheldon Simon and William Laufer both called the lawsuit highly unusual and Laufer said he has seen nothing like it in 40 years of practice.

    “A child is not emancipated until they’re on their own,” Simon said. “Even if a child and the parents don’t get along, that doesn’t relieve the parents of their responsibility.” Laufer noted that under New Jersey law, a child can still be declared nonemancipated even if there is a hiatus between high school graduation and college.
    http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/2...nclick_check=1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    I really want to say, "Hell, no!" but other articles say that the law in New Jersey just might be on her side:



    http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/2...nclick_check=1
    College is optional. There is no law that a parent has to pay for college. Food, water, basic shelter, and some clothing maybe. College, no.

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    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    She also wants them to continue paying for her high school tuition. I dont think she should be able to sue. And I think when she chose to move out, before she was leaving for college, she was stating she didnt want them to support her.
    That all being said, I think they should finish paying off her high school.
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    College is optional. There is no law that a parent has to pay for college. Food, water, basic shelter, and some clothing maybe. College, no.
    Hey, I didn't make the law in New Jersey, I'm just reporting what some lawyers are saying the precedent is. It's a very bad precedent, IMHO, if it's the way they say. I can just imagine this next generation of NJ kids moving out on their 18th birthdays but still wanting college & cars & grocery money.

    And I'd say if she wanted to move out and not be under their rules, she should attend a school that she *can* afford on her own, i.e. a public high school or secure a scholarship or something.

    Man, my life could have been so different if I'd been able to just sue my dad to pay for college. He cut off child support for me when I turned 18. I am so kicking myself for not thinking of that.
    Last edited by Spacers; 03-04-2014 at 06:15 PM.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    I think they should go ahead and pay the high school tuition because that contract was made between the parents and the school so they are responsible. After that I don't think they owe her a dime. If she wants them to pay anything else then she needs to move back home and follow the rules. I also think it is ridiculous for her friend's father to expect her parents to pay for his legal fees. She might have moved back home by now if he hadn't encouraged her with this silly lawsuit.
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    As a daughter and as a parent, nothing good will come from this.

    As a parent I would take the high road and pay the tuition and offer the friend's parents support until my daughter graduated from high school.

    I think she has a valid argument:

    Rachel?s attorney, Tanya Helfand, is not taking calls as she prepares for Tuesday's hearing, her office tells Yahoo Shine. Rachel did not return a call from Yahoo Shine, and the Morris County court was closed on Monday due to inclement weather. But the Daily Record reports that, in the suit, Rachel alleges that her parents decided to cut her off ?from all support both financially and emotionally? as of her 18th birthday, which was November 1. Her suit also demands the following of the Cannings: that they take care of an outstanding $5,306 Morris Catholic tuition bill; pay their daughter?s current living and transportation expenses; and free up her existing college fund, as she?s already been accepted to several universities.
    They took on the financial obligation of the private school. Withholding the tuition seems, I don't know, controlling? What is she supposed to do? Try to enroll herself in a public school for her last semester of high school? The financial obligation was taken on while she was still a minor and it seems wrong to me to put her in that situation.

    Same thing with her existing college fund. Yes, you can say it was the parents who set up the fund and it's therefore "theirs" but in essence it isn't. The intent was to use it for her schooling. When she fills out FAFSA forms, she has to disclose all of that and it effects her need. It doesn't say how much the fund is worth, but lets say it's $50,000. She has to put on the FAFSA that there is $50,000 in a college fund in her name, and the government expects it will be used for college. If they don't release it to her or the university she attends, she is really going to be screwed.

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