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Teen Sues Parents for Tuition and Living Expenses

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A teen in New Jersey decided that she no longer wanted to follow her parents’ household rules, so she did what other teens of age do in similar situations–she ran away. While most teens who decide they want to live by their own rules eventually get a job to support themselves (before ultimately deciding to go back home), 18-year-old Rachel Canning decided to sue her parents.

It didn’t work.

Judge Peter Bogaard denied Rachel’s request today, which included $650 per week for support, back pay, future college tuition and other expenses. The judge says he will reconsider Rachel’s request for college tuition after she submits her FAFSA paperwork, but for now, the teen doesn’t get a dime.

Rachel, who is an honor student and already has a $20,000 scholarship, claims that her parents kicked her out late last year, which is why she says she is entitled to the funds. Rachel is living with relatives of her best friend, the Inglesinos, and this family is paying for the lawsuit.

Tanya Helfand, Rachel’s attorney, accuses the Cannings of not doing enough to rectify the situation.

“Any reasonable, caring parent would be so devastated and embarrassed by this situation, and they would reach out to the Inglesinos and they would reach out to their daughter, either through therapy, working with the Inglesinos to try and wrangle in this situation and make it right,” Helfand said.

Rachel’s parents, however, paint a very different picture of the events. Sean Canning, Rachel’s father and a retired police chief, says that Rachel left on her own after refusing to follow several household rules, including keeping curfew, doing chores and being respectful.

“Living in our house, there’s rules,” Canning said. “There’s minor chores. There’s curfews–when I say curfew, it’s usually after 11 o’clock at night.”

Further, Canning says that Rachel is welcome to move home whenever she decides she is ready to comply with their rules. “This whole thing is just destroying our family,” Canning said. “We love our daughter. She’s our pride and joy. The door is wide open. We want her to come home.”

Even though Canning hasn’t paid for any of Rachel’s private school tuition since she left, he does say that he never refused to pay for college tuition. Regardless, the judge did say that Rachel’s parents have to keep the status quo on her college savings fund.

Do you think that the judge made the right decision with the teen’s lawsuit against her parents or should the parents provide financial support even though their daughter moved out? Add your comments below.

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Teen Sues Parents for Tuition and Living Expenses
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