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Girl sues parents to force them to pay for college

Are parents legally required to pay for their kid's higher education? One New Jersey honor student thinks so.

By Money Staff Mar 4, 2014 1:32PM

This post comes from Hal M. Bundrick at partner site MainStreet.

MainStreet on MSN MoneyA New Jersey high school honor student whose father says she left home voluntarily in October is suing her parents for financial support – and to force them to pay for her college education.

Rachel Canning is suing for "abandonment," saying her parents threw her out of their house when she turned 18. Her father, a former police chief, says his daughter wouldn't abide by "reasonable household rules" and instead decided to live with the family of her best friend.

Cash inside a graduation cap © Stephen Wisbauer/Getty Images

The girl's father, Sean Canning, tells The Daily Record of Parsippany that his daughter refused to be respectful, keep a curfew and do household chores. The parents are also asking that she "reconsider" or end a relationship with a boyfriend they believe to be a bad influence.

Rachel Canning's suit seeks payment of current living and transportation expenses, the payment of Catholic high school tuition totaling over $5,000 and the commitment of an existing college fund to the daughter, as well as mounting legal fees, totaling nearly $13,000 so far.

"My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules," Rachel says in the court filing. "They stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school and me and have redirected my college fund, indicating their refusal to afford me an education as a punishment."

The lawsuit is being funded by John Inglesino, the father of Rachel Canning's best friend Jaime Inglesino.

"We love our child and miss her," Sean Canning wrote in a Facebook post. "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.'"

More from MainStreet

Mar 4, 2014 2:34PM
Did she move out or get thrown out is the question or just a perception. Regardless there is public school. They are under no obligation to pay for Catholic school. If I had to guess she didn't like the rules and moved out. Good excuse to be with boyfriend. The only one making out on this is the lawyer.
Mar 4, 2014 4:55PM
What a brat! This kid doesn't deserve a dime.
Mar 4, 2014 7:09PM

If she's 18, her parents no longer are legally bound to support her.

What the hell is wrong with kids these days??? I worked my a** off to pay for college. I paid for EVERYTHING... my rent, car insurance, health insurance, tuition, books, food, fuel, clothing... EVERYTHING. I got no help from my parents. Not because they didn't want to help, but they weren't financially able to at the time. I say this girl needs a swift kick in the butt. Spoiled brat!!!

Mar 4, 2014 7:23PM
How was she even able to bring this to court? She's 18. Legally her parents don't have to acknowledge she even exists anymore. 
Mar 4, 2014 3:10PM
The little pos is 18.  She is an adult and her parents don't owe her anything.  The dad sounds like a major pussy.  Only in NJ/NY/CA.
Mar 5, 2014 10:29AM
In my Sr year of high school, I went to school 1/2 day then to work, working 40 hours/week.  At age 17 I bought my own car (Dad co-signed) & made the monthly payment ($126), bought gas, food, my own clothes and I even paid $100 rent to my parents.  That was a lot of money in the 1970's.  My 3 sisters never had to do this.  While I resented it at the time, I later realized that it made me very independent.  I lived with parents until I was 22, but once I moved out I never moved back in like a couple of my sisters.  For many years I barely scraped by and sometimes I borrowed money from them, but I always paid it back. 

This girl needs to wake up to the fact that parents do NOT have to pay for private school education.  She is not entitled to anything.  But her parents are entitled to set the rules in their own home.  If she doesn't want to follow their rules, that's her choice.  But if she is 18, they can choose to stop supporting her.  She needs to wise up to the fact that the world does not revolve around her!

Mar 5, 2014 5:33PM
Im currently in college and paying for everything. I have been on my own since 17 and been working and paying my own way ever since.  I'm an honor student and proud of my accomplishment. I am so sick of seeing these rich kids with their self-entitlement attitude,  ugh:( If she doesn't want to abide by her parents rule that's her prerogative but she needs to accept the consequences that comes with that choice. If she's adult enough to move out then she's adult enough to get a job and pay her own way. She can't disrespect her parents and expect to freeload of them. She should've thought about her choices and the consequences that comes with it before making them. 
Mar 5, 2014 12:35PM
Another "I want it now" spoiled brat...
Mar 4, 2014 11:11PM
She is entitled to live the same lifestyle that her parents were giving her. For example, if I divorce my husband, I can request to the court that father continue to help me pay for our child's lifestyle that she/he had prior to the divorce, that's if the father is making the same income. 

Also, there should be a compromise. It should not be what the parents say is the way it should be. I am a parent and I never created house rules without my son being a part of it. His voice matters. We have a great relationship. He graduated one year early from high school, almost got accepted to MIT, and has a social life. There is no curfew. I only ask that he sleeps at a decent time. Even though he is only 17rs old, he's in college. Who am I to tell him when he should go to sleep. Maybe he's studying for a test. He works part-time, contributes to the household expenses.  Again, no curfew, no house rules, only common sense and communication. 
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