N.J. cheerleader leaves home, sues parents for college tuition

"Morris Catholic High School senior Rachel Canning says that her parents kicked her out last year. She now wants them to pay for her college education. Rachel's dad is the former Lincoln Park police chief. He says that his daughter voluntarily moved out," News 12 New Jersey reported.

Canning, who left her parents' house on her 18th birthday, is staying with a friend's family. That friend's dad is funding a lawsuit seeking financial support from her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, accusing them of flouting their legal obligations as Rachel Canning's guardians. (Via Facebook / Rachel CanningLinkedIn / Sean Canning)

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The Daily Record reported the dispute began over Canning's resistance to her family's household rules. Her dad told the paper, "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'?"

As the Daily Mail noted, the current legal dispute is about whether Canning has emancipated herself from her parents' care, and thus dissolved their legal duty to provide for her. New Jersey law doesn't automatically emancipate minors who turn 18.

The Mail quotes Canning's lawyer, who "says her client has not 'moved beyond (her parents') sphere of influence' and per New Jersey law may be deemed non-emancipated. ... But the attorney for Mr. and Mrs. Canning ... is claiming Rachel removed herself from that 'sphere of influence' when she voluntary left her parents' home."

In addition to access to a college tuition fund, Canning is also suing her parents for the cost of a $5,000 unpaid high school bill, transportation and living expenses, and legal fees that have so far totaled more than $12,000.

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