A New Jersey teenager who left her parents' house and then sued them unsuccessfully for child support has returned home — but it's debatable if that's a good thing.
Two days before her 18th birthday, Rachel Canning left the home of her parents Sean and Elizabeth Canning, who were going through a rough patch in their marriage. The couple had separated and then reconciled, but Rachel decided to permanently move in with a friend's family one town over.
But once Rachel realized the money it took to live, eat, attend her private high school and possibly enroll in a college, she took her parents to court to request necessary funding, plus “emergency funds” and child support for herself, reports the Daily News. It all sounds like a questionable Lifetime movie, right?
And as in many domestic disputes, there are stories from both sides about mistreatment. Rachel claims in her lawsuit that her parents were "abusive," her father was "inappropriately affectionate" and her mom "contributed to an eating disorder she developed and pushed her to get a basketball scholarship." She says her father encouraged her to drink and woke up her at night to play beer pong. The 18-year-old also says her mom and dad kicked her out of their house.
The parents, on the other hand, claimed they tried to help her deal with her eating disorder but also said Rachel refused to follow their rules, like coming home at curfew or doing her chores, and she decided to move out herself. Moreover, her parents allege that the family Rachel was living with had plied their daughter with alcohol and exacerbated the tumultuous situation. She was drinking on weeknights and dating a boy who her parents felt was a "bad influence."
Naturally, a State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard pretty much rolled his eyes at Rachel’s request for "emergency funds" because what’s next, kids suing their parents if they don’t get an Xbox? Judge Bogaard also agreed with an "independent investigators' assessment of the home atmosphere" which concluded Rachel was just "spoiled."
But the teen's larger suit for financial support from her parents is still open; she requested her parents keep paying for her private school bill, pay $650 in weekly child support and reimburse her legal fees. The judge set an April court date to decide whether the girl’s parents are “obligated” to support her financially. It all seems to boil down to whether the Cannings kicked her out or whether Rachel left of her own accord. But all of that is brushed under the rug now because Rachel has moved back into her parents house, presumably until she graduates high school — if she can make it that long.
Photo via AP.