John O'Boyle / The Star-Ledger
Rachel Canning looks on during a hearing Tuesday at the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown, N.J. Canning, an honor student who says her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18, is now suing them, asking a court to make them support her and pay for her college.
A judge in Morristown on Tuesday ruled against immediately forcing Rachel Canning's parents to pay her $650 weekly child support and pay for her remaining year of high school tuition, as she requested in a lawsuit filed last week. Judge Peter Bogaard scheduled a hearing for next month to decide whether to require her parents to pay for Canning's college tuition.
Court documents show frequent causes of parent-teenage tension — boyfriends and alcohol — taken to an extreme. In court filings, there are accusations and denials, but one thing is clear: the girl left home Oct. 30, two days before she turned 18 after a tumultuous stretch during which her parents separated and reconciled and the teen 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, such as being respectful, keeping a curfew, doing a few chores and ending a relationship with a boyfriend her parents say is a bad influence. They say that shortly before she turned 18, she told her parents that she would be an adult and could do whatever she wanted.
She said her parents are abusive, contributed to an eating disorder she developed and pushed her to get a basketball scholarship. They say they were supportive, helped her through the eating disorder and paid for her to go to a private school where she would not get as much playing time in basketball as she would have at a public school.
They also say she lied in her court filing and to child welfare workers who are involved in the case.
She's been living in Rockaway Township with the family of her best friend. The friend's father, former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino, is paying for the lawsuit.
Inglesino told the The Daily Record of Parsippany that he and his wife decided to pay for the lawsuit because they fear Canning will lose opportunities for a strong education and a happy future without her parents' contributions.
A cheerleader and lacrosse player who hopes to become a biomedical engineer, Canning is seeking immediate financial support and wants to force her parents to pay for her college education and more than $5,000 owed for her last semester at Morris Catholic High School. She also wants a judge to declare that she's non-emancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support.