Judge rejects financial support requests by New Jersey teen suing parents

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18-year-old Rachel Canning was denied an immediate request that her parents pay for her tuition and living expenses. (Image/Pool)


A New Jersey honor student suing her parents in a potentially precedent-setting lawsuit had her motions for financial support, including high school tuition payment, denied Tuesday by a judge who said it would set a bad precedent by setting limits on parenting.

Rachel Canning, 18, of Morris Catholic High School, was denied her requests for child support of $654 a week as well as thousands of dollars in attorney fees and immediate reimbursement of her high school tuition.

Morris County Court Judge Peter Bogaard also ruled that Rachel’s parents must keep her on their health insurance policy and keep status quo on all college savings accounts set up for her.

Canning claims her parents threw her out of their Lincoln Park home two days before her 18th birthday in late October, although her parents insist she moved voluntarily.

Canning’s father, retired Lincoln Park Police Chief Sean Canning, told The Daily Record of Parsippany that his daughter left home of her own accord because she didn’t want to abide by reasonable household rules, such as being respectful, keeping a curfew and doing some chores.

Since moving out, Canning, who has reportedly already been accepted to several colleges, has been living in Rockaway Township with relatives of her best friend. Former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino is funding the lawsuit, the newspaper reports.

Canning sought to have her parents ordered to immediately pay tuition at Morris Catholic High School, where she is a senior. Her parents have already paid tuition through Dec. 31, but haven’t signed additional checks since Rachel left the family’s home. Administrators at the school have said they won’t kick her out for unpaid 2014 tuition, The New York Post reports.

“This whole thing is just destroying our family,” Sean Canning told The Post. “We love our daughter. She’s our pride and joy. The door is wide open. We want her to come home.”

Canning told the newspaper he and his wife have disagreed on typical family issues.

“I’m a liberal, liberal parent,” he said. “I wish I could have grown up in my house. I was tougher on my cops at work than I’ve ever been at my home, that’s for sure.”

Legal experts told The Post that the rare case, if successful, could evoke similar suits in the future.

“In my 20 years of practicing family law in New Jersey, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Brian Schwartz, chairman of the New Jersey Bar Association’s Family Law Section, told the newspaper.

Jeralyn Lawrence, the incoming Family Law Section chair, said: “This could open the floodgates of recalcitrant kids fighting with their parents, moving out and then suing for them to keep paying.”

Another  hearing to decide whether to require her parents to pay for Canning’s college tuition is tentatively scheduled for April 22.


  • beckyhugo

    I applaud Judge Peter Bogaard for his ruling. Come on, adolescent experts know that this is the age where kids are trying to find themselves and spread their wings and fly. We live in an age of predators, if this young lady's absurd, arrogant, egotistical claim would be upheld in court, there would be an avalanche of kids starting out their lives "smooching" and off of their parents hard work. Not to mention the arrogance of dishonoring their parent's 18 years of care and provision. Remember at this age they think they know it all, they want it all, but they want it all on their terms, without meeting anyone's criteria. At 18, you are an adult, most parents are willing to continue to help their children while they get life experience and get on their feet and set some healthy reasonal guidelines to do so. Our 2 wonderful children, turned on us at about the same age-we offered to support them and help them with what we could as they went to college or worked to get started out in life. We were not charging rent, or food, etc. but they wanted to come in at whatever time, dishonor their upbringing by bringing illegal substances to our home and no we were to act invisible when they bought their friends home. What!!!? I don't think so. We love you, cared for you, provided for you, now we enter into an adult, family agreement and you want full control???? NOT! I'm sure she will regret this in a few more years and it will haunt her. I applaud her parents for loving her enough to set boundaries.

  • Charlotte

    Seriously??? She is asking to make more weekly then most people get in two weeks. You don’t get to move out then ask your parents to pay for it! It’s called growing up and getting a damn job!!!

  • The Opinionated One

    Whew, what a brat! Sounds like the young lady had a nice home, a caring family, and because, horror of horrors, her parents asked her to live by their rules since she was still under their roof, she throws a hissy fit, and runs away from home. She must have realized her error almost immediately. No more secure home environment with folks who loved and cared for her, no more freebies, she has to provide for herself now. What an awakening that must have been! To make a bad situation worse, she still wants to have her cake and eat it, too, so she sues the parents. Spoiled, is what she is. Last time I checked, when a person reaches 18 years of age, he/she is considered an adult. This little lady needs to grow up and act her age, take responsibility for her actions, and earn her own way in life. She stepped in it big time! My children felt their oats when they turned 18, but never, never to this extent. I hope the judge continues to be tough, she definitely needs to learn a life lesson. On another note, didn't she look oh so innocent sitting there in the courtroom in her little school uniform. She is a player!

  • Tanya

    I agree with the judge if she doesn’t want to obey the rules in her parents home and moved out. You cant expect her parents to support her if she’s not in their home. If she wants to be treated as an adult than she can act like an adult and earn her own money.I am sure she knew the consequences of her actions before she left home and she left home anyway so that was her decision to deny her self of any support from her parents.

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