Rachel Canning, an 18-year-old from Morristown, N.J., sued her estranged parents this week because they wouldn’t pay for her private high school tuition, college tuition, and living expenses, including around 12 grand for attorney fees. One legal expert told ABC News the case was “totally unusual.”
Rachel didn’t win. In a victory for anyone who places some faith in the New Jersey court system, a family court judge ruled on Tuesday that Rachel’s parents were not responsible for funding the private schooling or weekly living expenses of their daughter, who is a legal adult. The Cannings may be on the hook for college fees, though: the judge delayed that ruling until April.
So how the hell did this family end up in court? Rachel and her parents offer differing accounts, of course, but the root of the issue lies in an argument and Rachel leaving home to move in with a friend. Rachel’s parents say she had been suspended twice from school and they gave her an ultimatum to stop dating a boyfriend, who was a bad influence. Rachel says they were emotionally abusive and JUST TOTALLY UNFAIR. (Her accusations prompted a call to child investigative services back in the fall. They found nothing amiss.)
The friend’s father, an attorney, offered to fund her bizarre legal challenge. From ABC:
Rachel claims that her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, kicked her out of their Lincoln Park house when she turned 18 in October, which they deny. Dad Sean Canning says she left voluntarily because she didn’t want to follow their house rules concerning curfew and chores.
“Private school, new car, college education; that all comes with living under our roof,” he told ABC News station WABC-TV.
His lawyer, reading from a statement before the start of this afternoon’s hearing, said the Cannings “are distraught that their oldest daughter feels that litigation is a better option than living together as a family.”
Rachel is an honors student at Morris Catholic High School. She’s a cheerleader and member of the lacrosse team. As she said in a court document, “My parents simply will not help me any longer. They want nothing to do with me and refuse to even help me financially outside the home although they certainly have the ability to do so. … I am unable to support myself and provide for my food, shelter, clothing, transportation and education.”
This story is like Exhibit Fuckin’ A in the “this generation is spoiled” argument. Yeesh.