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Rachel Canning: 18-year-old teen who sued her parents returns home

Rachel canning, an 18-year-old New Jersey honor student, made headlines last week when she filed a lawsuit in State Superior Court against Sean and Elizabeth Canning – her parents. Rachel said her parents threw her out of the house. She sued them for financial support and college tuition.
Elizabeth and Sean Canning, parents of Rachel Canning, cry during a recent hearing at the Morris County Courthouse in New Jersey.

According to The Associated Press today via Yahoo! News, Canning reunited with her family this week, moving back in and hopefully starting to make amends for the heartache and despondency that she put her family through.

Angelo Sarno, who is representing Rachel Canning's parents, said the teen’s return was not contingent on any financial arrangements, just that she wanted to come home. Sarno said the suit has been settled “amicably,” and asked for privacy on behalf of the family without giving any further details.

The Associated Press picks up the story:

A judge last week had denied the teen's request for child support and to have her parents pay her remaining high school tuition. But the judge scheduled an April court date to consider the over-arching question of whether the Cannings are obligated to financially support their adult daughter.

State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard sounded skeptical of some of the claims in the lawsuit, saying it could lead to teens "thumbing their noses" at their parents, leaving home and then asking for financial support.

"Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?" Bogaaed asked. "We should be mindful of a potentially slippery slope."

The honor student, cheerleader and lacrosse player at Morris Catholic High School in New Jersey filed her lawsuit, seeking a ruling that she is “nonemancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support.”

Rachel had been living with a friend in Rockaway Township, whose father coincidentally is an attorney and had been funding the case.

“We love our child and miss her,” said father Sean Canning last week. “This is terrible. It's killing me and my wife. We have a child we want home. We're not draconian and now we're getting hauled into court. She's demanding that we pay her bills but she doesn't want to live at home and she's saying ‘I don't want to live under your rules.’”

Sean says his daughter voluntarily left their home last fall, and that they did cease paying Rachel’s current Morris Catholic school tuition and have also kept her car because they own it.

According to Sean, the few rules that Rachel was asked to abide by were simple expectations that any family has – to be respectful of others, be home by a curfew time, return items that were borrowed from family members and do a few chores.

Sean and Elizabeth also wanted their daughter to reconsider, and possible end, a relationship with a boy who they felt was a poor influence on her.

“We’re heartbroken, but what do you do when a child says ‘I don’t want your rules but I want everything under the sun and you to pay for it?’” Sean asked at the time.

Rachel alleged physical abuse, which was categorically dismissed after a thorough investigation was done by the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

“They're not athletes, they're not actors. They didn't ask for any of this,” Sarno said during a Wednesday press conference. “Everyone should be happy today. This is a happy situation.”

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