Sometimes we like to check in on what entitled little monster teenagers are up to, and oh dear lord this is the best rotten teenager ever until we find a worse one. Let’s go read about Rachel Canning, who is suing her parents to try to force them to pay for her college tuition. All together now: SHE SEEMS NICE.
A Morris Catholic High School honor student and athlete who claims her parents threw her out of their Lincoln Park home when she turned 18 has taken the highly unusual step of suing them for immediate financial support and to force them to pay for her college education.
Private high school senior Rachel Canning, a cheerleader and lacrosse player who has aspirations to be a biomedical engineer, filed a lawsuit last week in the Family Part of state Superior Court in Morristown [New Jersey] that seeks a judge’s declaration that she is nonemancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support. […]
Rachel Canning’s lawyer, Tanya N. Helfand, will ask that parents Sean and Elizabeth Canning, who haven’t paid an outstanding $5,306 Morris Catholic tuition bill, be ordered to settle that debt, pay Rachel’s current living and transportation expenses, and commit an existing college fund to their daughter, who has received acceptance letters from several universities and has to make a decision this spring.
You will note that Ms. Canning is 18, which makes the whole “nonemancipated” thing a wee bit of a stretch since SHE IS LEGALLY AN ADULT, and emancipation of a child typically refers to a child seeking a declaration that they are legally independent BEFORE they turn 18. But Canning has found a lawyer that essentially wants to argue that you perhaps can be nonemancipated forever and ever if you just are helpless enough or go to college, which is sorta kinda true in New Jersey maybe.
In New Jersey, emancipation of a child “is a fact-sensitive analysis that looks at whether the child has moved beyond the sphere of influence and responsibility exercised by a parent and has obtained an independent status of his or her own,” Helfand said in court papers.[…] A key court decision in the state specifies that, “A child’s admittance and attendance at college will overcome the rebuttable presumption that a child may be emancipated at age 18.”
Prominent family-law attorneys Sheldon Simon and William Laufer both called the lawsuit highly unusual and Laufer said he has seen nothing like it in 40 years of practice.
“A child is not emancipated until they’re on their own,” Simon said. “Even if a child and the parents don’t get along, that doesn’t relieve the parents of their responsibility.” Laufer noted that under New Jersey law, a child can still be declared nonemancipated even if there is a hiatus between high school graduation and college.
This is a thing we did not know! Essentially what this says is that in New Jersey, sometimes a child can still be considered under her parents’ control even if she is 18 and heading to college. Cool, fair enough, except that is, again, typically used when kids WANT to be considered emancipated yet are pretty much living off of mommy and daddy. Here, young Rachel wants a legal decision that she is unemancipated and gets to behave however she wants AND live off mommy and daddy forever, just ’cause.
Let’s have the parents’ attorney lawsplain it a little bit for us, hmmmm?
“Mr. and Mrs. Canning did not tell Rachel to move out; rather they advised her that she is welcome home so long as she abides by their rules under their roof, which is completely reasonable. However, Rachel decided that she does not want to live within her parents’ sphere of influence and voluntarily moved out, essentially emancipating herself. Obviously, she cannot decide she will no longer live within her parents’ sphere of influence and simultaneously seek payment from them for support,” [Attorney Laurie] Rush-Masuret wrote the court.
Yep. What she said.
Also, you will kindly note from the above that there seems to be a wee bit of debate as to whether she quit her house or got fired from it, which is sort of a key thing here.
The father said that he and his wife did stop paying the Morris Catholic tuition and have kept Rachel’s car because they paid for it. The father contended that Rachel moved out because she didn’t want to abide by simple household rules — be respectful, keep a curfew, return “borrowed” items to her two sisters, manage a few chores, and reconsider or end her relationship with a boyfriend the parents believe is a bad influence.
Yeah, see, that doesn’t sound like being thrown out and cut off. That sounds like wanting to have your cake and eat the fuck out of it too, Rachel Canning. Many a grown person is not allowed to live under Mommy and Daddy’s roof because they are terrible adult layabouts who were overindulged as children and never grew out of it, which is pretty much how you sound. New Jersey courts, we beg of you, do not reward this behavior or you will have parents who are now legally stuck with their horrible adult offspring standing outside your doors with pitchforks in no time.