The New Jersey teenager who is suing her parents for financial support and tuition after they allegedly kicked her out was denied her first request today in court. Judge Peter Bogaard ruled that Sean and Elizabeth Canning will not have to pay the $650/week support their 18-year old daughter has requested, and says they are not responsible for her legal fees or the remainder of her tuition at a private school.
Canning is also requesting that the judge not emancipate her so that her parents will be legally bound to help her financially, and says she wants access to her college fund after being accepted to several schools. But Bogaard says that this case should not be the norm for kids and their families after the Cannings said that Rachel left on her own because she didn’t want to follow their rules.
“We have to ask ourselves, do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in constant fear of enforcing the basic rules of the house,” he said. “If they set a rule a child doesn’t like, the child can move out, move in with another family, seek child support, cars, cell phone and a few hundred grand to go to college. Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone? We should be mindful of a potentially slippery slope.”
Rachel says her parents were abusive and that their relationship led to an eating disorder; she had a teacher testify on her behalf regarding an ugly incident witnessed between Rachel and her mother. But the Cannings say they have always been supportive of their daughter–who is now living with a friend whose father is a lawyer–and that they don’t think their rules were too outrageous. Rachel, who reportedly has a history of behavioral problems, was simply too rebellious to stay.
“We love our child and miss her”, Mr Canning said the day before the hearing. “This is terrible. It’s killing me and my wife. 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’.”
Meanwhile, the lawyer Rachel is staying with, John Inglesino, has allegedly funded the lawsuit and encouraged the teen to move forward with the legal battle. The family is due back in court on April 22.
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