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Parents vs. kids, who sets the rules? N.J. judge rules for parents in bizarre case that drew national attention


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It's a precedent-setting case - or just a reminder that parents actually are in charge of their kids and get to make the rules. Imagine that.

A Superior Court judge in Morris County Tuesday ruled that a Lincoln Park couple does not have to financially support their 18-year-old daughter who voluntarily left their house in a dispute over the rules of the house.

"Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house?" Family Division Judge Peter Bogaard asked when denying an order that Sean and Elizabeth Canning pay the private school and college tuition for their daughter, Rachel.

The case has drawn national attention.

Rachel Canning, a senior and honors student at Morris Catholic High School, went to court to force her parents to not only pay her tuition bills but to pay her medical bills and her legal fees in the case, among other things.

Rachel Canning was seeking more than $600 a week in support.

Rachel Canning said her parents threw her out of the house before her 18th birthday; her parents successfully argued she left voluntarily after numerous disputes over the rules of the house.

Boggard ruled the parents must keep their daughter on their health insurance plan and maintain college savings accounts that had been established in her name.

In the end, however, Boggard said the parents had every right to make the rules in their own house. In fact, Boggard said it was their responsibility.

"What kind of parents would the Cannings be if they did not discipline her?" Boggard asked. "The Cannings had the right to set up rules."

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Steve said:
Yay Judge Boggard!

The problem with this little "snit" is that she probably has received too much from her parents over her lifetime and feels entitled. This is a horrible epidemic with children her age these days. Shame on Rachel and shame on the attorneys who are supporting her in this effort. What the heck is their motivation? One has got to wonder.

March 5, 2014 2:44 pm

scallywag said:
Daddy used to get me drunk, kiss me, turned me into an emotional wreck bulimic??  

Does the story get any more diabolical? Then the parents refuting that none of this true, and that the daughter tried to set her father up with a new woman and that she was breaking curfews, hanging out with her boyfriend into the wee hours.... suspended from school twice for underage drinking?

Is this really a lawsuit for financial support or a battle cry for a lost soul??

March 5, 2014 9:49 am

Vike said:
It's a quick knee-jerk reaction to rail at the arrogance of the child and then you stop, think and you rail at the complete disconnected arrogance of the parents and then you stop again and think to yourself this attorney filing this case and this guy who happens to be the father of the friend of the child - what's he paying for this for? Does this attorney not have anything better to do with her life?

But Oliver Wendall Holmes said all law is based on vengeance. This is a classic case: the child seeks revenge and retribution for being kicked to the curb and the parents the same to avenge her youthful rebellion. None realize that upon death, these silly and salacious tugs of war mean nothing. Nothing.

What is missing here is not money, it is not power, it is not the right to enforce any right. What is clearly missing is simply, to quote many a poet and songwriter of yore: love. Also missing are relationships as they should be, must be and, despite the litigation for these people, can still be. I say this as an attorney who has more than enough work to do and consider such a R. 1:4 submission beneath the dignity of the court and the litigants.

March 5, 2014 8:23 am

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