Rachel Canning: N.J. teen who sued parents for child support is back home

A New Jersey teenager who left home, then tried to force her parents to pay her bills, has returned home, her parents’ lawyer said Wednesday. But her lawsuit is still pending.

John O'Boyle/The Star-Ledger/Pool/AP/File
Rachel Canning, a New Jersey honor student who sued her parents for child support after she moved out of their home, smiles during a hearing on March 4 at the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown, N.J. She is now reunited with her parents, her parents' lawyer said in a statement Wednesday.

A New Jersey teenager who left home and then tried to force her parents to pay her bills has returned home, her parents’ lawyer said on Wednesday.

A lawyer for Rachel Canning’s parents told reporters that his clients have welcomed their daughter back into their Lincoln Park home, in a quiet resolution to a family spat that had spun into a courtroom drama and into international headlines.

Rachel “has returned home and reunited with her parents and siblings,” said Angelo Sarno, her parents' attorney, in a statement, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Still, Rachel’s lawsuit against her parents has not yet been pulled, and Mr. Sarno declined to comment during a press conference on Wednesday as to why the lawsuit was still outstanding.

The case is "over on a different level, not legal," he told reporters, according to the New York Daily News.

He also told reporters that Rachel’s return home is “not contingent on any financial and/or other considerations” and that the battle between parents and daughter is “ancient history,” according to the Daily News.

Rachel, an honor student, had alleged in a lawsuit that her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, tossed her out of their home last October, two days before she turned 18, and had since refused to pay any of her bills, according to the Associated Press.

She had since then been living with her best friend, whose father, attorney John Inglesino, had fronted her legal fees and helped her pursue a court order to force her parents to pay child support, including what was left of her private school tuition at Morris Catholic High, her future college tuition, and legal fees.

Rachel’s lawsuit against her parents also claims they were abusive, contributing to an eating disorder and pushing her to win a basketball scholarship, according to the Daily News.

But the Cannings say that Rachel left their home of her own accord, after chafing at their requests that she follow basic house rules, including doing some chores, abiding by curfew, and being respectful. The family had also quarreled over Rachel’s boyfriend, whom the Cannings called a bad influence.

The Cannings, seen in courtroom pictures weeping through the proceedings, say they had supported their daughter through her eating disorder, according to the Daily News.

Last week, State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied Rachel’s emergency request, expressing concern about the precedent such an order would set – possibly prompting a slew of teenagers to ditch their parents and then sue them to pay up or, at the very least, giving teens the go-ahead to threaten their parents with a court summons each time things weren’t going their way.

“Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox?,” said Judge Bogaard, according to the Associated Press. “For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?"

"We should be mindful of a potentially slippery slope,” he said.

Still, the judge had ordered a hearing in April at which the court would address the broader issue of whether Rachel’s parents owe their adult daughter financial support.

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