Should a Child Be Able to Seek Support?

When we refer to a party “seeking support” in family law, we generally are referring to a spouse, either current or former, seeking maintenance and/or child support from the other spouse.
An 18-year-old in New Jersey recently attempted to expand the scope of support orders by suing her parents for $654 a week in support, high school tuition back pay, college tuition, and attorneys’ fees.
The teen, Rachel Canning, who attends Catholic high school, alleges that she was forced out of the house. She says she had no choice but to move in with a friend’s family, which has been paying her expenses. Canning’s parents tell a different story. They say their daughter simply didn’t want to abide by their rules and she voluntarily moved out.
Today, the New Jersey judge denied the teen’s request saying it would set a bad precedent by setting limits on parents. Legal experts echoed that had the judge ruled in the teen’s favor, it would have unleashed a floodgate of recalcitrant children fighting with their parents, moving out and then suing them to keep paying for them.
The Canning case is not over, however. The judge ordered another hearing, set for April 22, on whether the parents should be required to pay for Canning’s college tuition.
That hearing could be “game-changing.” Currently, non-divorced parents, such as the Cannings, cannot be ordered by a court to pay college tuition, although divorced parents can be.

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