Judge to Teen Suing Parents for Tuition: Not So Fast

NJ court sees no emergency, worries about precedent

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 5, 2014 9:21 AM CST

(Newser) – A New Jersey high school senior who's suing her parents for financial support, including college tuition, hit a setback yesterday: A judge in Morristown rejected an emergency order that would have meant more than $600 each week for honor student Rachel Canning, the Star-Ledger reports. Judge Peter Bogaard argued that there's no emergency in the case since Canning's private school will allow her to continue to attend despite money owed and college application deadlines aren't until May 1.

In the meantime, "do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house?" asked Bogaard. He pointed to a "slippery slope," the AP notes: "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?" During the hearing, Canning and her parents hardly looked at each other, the Star-Ledger notes. Now, the case could go to trial. Canning's lawyer holds that she is unemancipated from her parents and needs their financial support; the parents' lawyer says that since she left home by choice, she's now emancipated.

Elizabeth and Sean Canning, parents of Rachel Canning, cry during a hearing at the Morris County Courthouse, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Morristown, NJ.
Elizabeth and Sean Canning, parents of Rachel Canning, cry during a hearing at the Morris County Courthouse, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Morristown, NJ.   (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John O'Boyle, Pool)
High school senior Rachel Canning, 18, appears in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, NJ, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Canning is suing her parents for financial support and college tuition.
High school senior Rachel Canning, 18, appears in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, NJ, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Canning is suing her parents for financial support and college tuition.   (AP Photo/Daily Record, Bob Karp, Pool)
High school senior Rachel Canning, left, is comforted by friend Lauren Inglesino after seeing her father in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, NJ, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
High school senior Rachel Canning, left, is comforted by friend Lauren Inglesino after seeing her father in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, NJ, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.   (AP Photo/Daily Record, Bob Karp, Pool)
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