NJ Teen Suing Parents Denied Immediate Support

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) -

An 18-year-old New Jersey student who has sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home had her initial request denied Tuesday by a judge who cautioned that the case could lead to a “potentially slippery slope” of claims by teenagers against their parents.

Rachel Canning had sought immediate relief in the form of $650 weekly child support and payment of the remainder of her tuition at Morris Catholic High School, as well as attorney’s fees.

State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied those motions but ordered the parties to return to court on April 22, when they will present evidence and testimony on the over-arching question of whether the Cannings are obligated to financially support their daughter. Rachel Canning, a high school senior, has already been accepted by at least one college and is seeking to have her parents pay some or all of her tuition, attorney Tanya Helfand told Bogaard Tuesday.

Bogaard sounded skeptical of some of the claims made by Canning, who appeared in court dressed in her school uniform. He said it could lead to teens “thumbing their noses” at their parents, leaving home and then asking for financial support.

Court documents show the girl left home two days before she turned 18, after a tumultuous stretch during which her parents separated and reconciled and she began getting into uncharacteristic trouble at school. In court filings, Canning’s parents, retired Lincoln Park police Chief Sean Canning and his wife, Elizabeth, said their daughter voluntarily left home because she didn’t want to abide by reasonable household rules. They say that shortly before she turned 18, she told her parents that she would be an adult and could do whatever she wanted.