New Jersey teen in education-costs suit returns home: lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 12, 2014 3:26 PM

By Victoria Cavaliere

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey teen who drew international attention when she sued her parents to demand they pay her tuition after she moved out of their house has decided to return home, an attorney for her parents said on Wednesday.

It is unclear if 18-year-old Rachel Canning will continue her legal battle, in which she asked her parents to pay her remaining tuition bills at her private high school and her living expenses and to allow her access to a college savings fund set up for her.

"Her return home is not contingent on any financial and/or other considerations," said Angelo Sarno, an attorney for her parents.

Canning's attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

In court papers, Canning had said she left her home in Lincoln Park, New Jersey, after her 18th birthday in November 2013 because she was emotionally abused and neglected. Her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, argued that their daughter had disciplinary problems at home and school, and would not conform to house rules, including curfews and chores.

The case has challenged the degree that the government can intervene in a financial dispute between parents and a child over the age of 18 who is an adult but not legally emancipated.

Legal experts said the case could set a precedent on whether non-divorced parents in the state are obligated to pay for their children's college education and provide other financial support after the child has left home.

At a court hearing last week, Canning asked a judge for emergency financial relief from her parents, but the request was denied.

Judge Peter Bogaard said her request posed a potential "slippery slope."

"Do we want to establish a precedent where parents are living in constant fear of establishing basic rules of the house?" he said during the March 4 hearing.

Sarno said on Wednesday: "The Cannings want this matter behind them so they begin the healing process with their family."

(Editing by Scott Malone and Mohammad Zargham)