18-Year-Old Sues Parents for College Tuition But Refuses to Follow Their Rules

In most teens' minds, the day they turn 18 is going to be a glorious one. All of those stupid rules they had to follow at home will suddenly be lifted like some great fog. Overnight, parents will begin to respect their newfound freedom and independence -- yet continue to provide them with warm meals, because who the heck wants to have to cook for themselves at 18?

Rachel Canning is having a difficult time adjusting to 18. The New Jersey teen is suing her parents for refusing to pay for her college tuition and living and transportation expenses, despite the fact that she's no longer living at home and, according to her parents, left willingly because she didn't want to follow their rules.

According to Rachel, who was an honor student at Morris Catholic High School, her parents threw her out of their house. She is asking a judge to declare that she's non-emancipated and dependent on her parents to pay an outstanding high school tuition bill, foot the cost for her current living expenses, and turn over the college fund they'd been saving for her all of these years.

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Rachel's mom and dad -- who is a retired police chief -- insist that the teen chose to leave their home because she didn't want to follow rules like maintaining a curfew and doing her chores. They say they miss her and that it is "killing" them not to have Rachel at home. The teen is currently staying with her best friend, whose father is reportedly funding her lawsuit.

I'm pretty surprised a judge even agreed to hear this case, but I can see one of Rachel's points -- and only one. If her parents were paying for her high school tuition, I feel they should be liable to pay the outstanding bill, considering she was under age at the time she attended school.

As far as having to pay for her college tuition and life expenses: oh boy. Being blessed with parents who are willing and able to pay for your undergraduate education is a gift and not a right. Some parents may view "18" as a magical age in which everything changes, but many do not.

Many still feel like, well, I pay the bills at home and if you're going to be living under my roof, I have certain rules. And those rules should be respected, or teens should be forced to understand that they aren't going to be handed everything on a silver platter for nothing in return.

If she's lucky, the judge presiding over her case will give her the best life lesson she's ever had and vote in favor of her parents' right to choose whether they want to pay for their adult daughter's expenses and college tuition.

What do you think? Should this teen be asked to pay for her own expenses or is she still dependent on her parents?


Image via Tax Credits/Flickr

behavior, college, discipline, family, news, school


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ZamEnt25 ZamEnt25

I am so HAPPY u posted this story! I needed to vent about it!

First of all, she MOVED out! She can't want to be an adult and not pay her own bills. I hope her parents sue her for the cost of raising her. This is what's wrong with kids, they are entitled and selfish. I hope now, she has to get a job so she knows what its like to have to work! Yes girly, you need to work and get a job and pay bills. Life isn't handed to you on a silver platter. I also hope that the parents can sue to get the cost of their legal fees covered!


CLM3345 CLM3345

I agree with the author. They should pay the High School tuition. She was a minor then and they chose to keep her in a school that required tuition. But for college, no way! She needs to get a job, loans, grants, scholorships, whatever to pay for her college education.  The only problem is, if they opened the account under her name, technically they are her funds. I work at a bank so I've seen this a time or two. She is actually able to sue for those funds if the account was opened with her social. Not every child wins the case, but they can sue. If they opened an educational IRA, she can only use the funds for education, so at least they know she can't spend it on whatever she wants.

miche... micheledo

Well, the way many moms on CM talk - college is a right and as a parent I should pay for it.  So, I guess she might have a case.  Though in my opinion she shouldn't.  College isn't a right and it certainly isn't something parents need to pay for.  She needs to figure things out for herself, and fast!

High school is entirely different.

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

no, they shouldn't have to pay.  the rules aren't ridiculous, she just had to follow curfew, be respectful and take a deeper look at her relationship with her bf whom they felt was not a good influence on her; normal teenage rules.  She left on her own and now wants her parents to pay?  Give me a break!  

SharlaK SharlaK

I don't think most kids today realize that if you want to be an"adult" and make your own decisions then you get to be an "adult" and pay your own way as well.  Most kids are under the disillusionment that parents will always take care of them.

Zenezzy Zenezzy

Parents are not always responsible for high school tuition.  My parents could not afford tuition for a private high school.  One of my sisters wanted to go to a private school, they agreed to enroll her if she paid for it.  

Shannon Elysabeth Mundorff

Depends on a few things:

1) since they enrolled her in that high school, and she was still living with them when she attended, the parents should pay for that.

2) If the college account is in her name and solely in her name, they will lose most likely, because it is HER account, and most judges will side with her on that.

3) If she actively contributed to the college fund, then they need to give her everything she put in plus the interest for her share, if nothing else.


Personally I think this sounds like overbearing parents not wanting their child to grow up and leave the nest and using college money to hold her hostage.

2baby... 2babymomma

I think they should pay the high school bill and use the college fund money for her college tuition but not give her the money directly

Rando... Randomlady

Shannon, the thing about college is that unless she was legally emancipated (which she wasn't) she cannot sign a college form without her parents consent until the age of 24. However, loans are a bit different being that parents usually have to cosign on them but the first signee is this teenager.

In my opinion this is just a little girl who didn't realize that by leaving her parent's house she has many responsibilities that she herself have to deal with. Sadly for many people becoming adults they don't realize that everything costs money, their money. Let's hope this isn't a trend, punishing parents for not wanting to support their adult child.

nonmember avatar NANASUZI


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