New Jersey 18-Year-Old Sues Parents For Financial Support
Rachel Canning is a cheerleader, lacrosse player, and honor student at Morris Catholic High School, with acceptance letters to several colleges for next year. But the star high school student is suing her own parents for financial support, saying they cut her off and threw her out of the home for refusing to abide by their rules.
Canning is seeking late tuition for her last semester at the private high school, as well as access to the money her parents had saved for her college education, and coverage of legal fees resulting from the case. The high school tuition and and legal fees alone would tally at least $25,000.
The teen says her parents decided on the eve of her eighteenth birthday to cut her off “financially and emotionally.” She has also made allegations of domestic abuse.
Sean Canning, a retired Lincoln Park police chief, counters that his daughter chose to leave the home, and that he and his wife decided to withhold some money as a result. He admits that they had family problems, saying Rachel bullied her siblings, broke curfew, was disrespectful, neglected chores, and dated a boy he and Rachel’s mother disapproved of. But the elder Canning claims that both the home and the college fund are open to Rachel, and staunchly denies the allegations of abuse.
Rachel is currently living with a classmate’s family, who are funding her legal case. Her school confirmed that it had contacted protective services about her allegations once, and a school employee described witnessing a fierce confrontation between Canning and her mother.
The Daily Record reports that the suit might succeed in New Jersey, due to the state’s precedent regarding child emancipation. A previous case found that turning 18 does not necessarily make a person independent, and that attending college could be an even stronger indication that the child is still dependent on parents’ support.