MORRISTOWN, N.J. (PIX11/AP) — A judge has denied a request from a northern New Jersey honor student to force her parents to immediately provide her financial support.
Judge Peter Bogaard Tuesday scheduled a hearing for next month in the lawsuit filed by 18-year-old Rachel Canning to decide whether her parents will be required to pay her college tuition.
“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in constant fear of establishing basic rules of the house?” Bogaard said.
Canning claims her parents threw her out of their Lincoln Park home when she turned 18. “Normal parents would be concerned about putting their children in financial debt going forward,” said Canning’s attorney Tanya Hefland. “I believe that she is a vulnerable young woman and her parents aren’t taking care of her.”
In court documents, Canning accuses her parents of verbal and physical abuse, alleging that her father was “inappropriately affectionate” with her and gave her alcohol on several occasions. Her mother, she said, mentally abused her when she was a child by calling her “fat” and “porky.”
Canning’s parents, Sean and Elizabeth, paint a different picture of their 18-year-old daughter. They said Rachel simply refused to live under the rules of their home, and claim she ignored rules “such as a curfew, no under-age drinking and a diligent effort to obtain good grades.” When she wasn’t allowed to see her boyfriend after being suspended for two days, they said, Rachel cut school and then decided to move in with a friend after spending two nights with her boyfriend.
She’s been living in Rockaway Township with the family of her best friend since. The Daily Record of Parsippany reports that the friend’s father is funding the lawsuit.