Friday, March 7, 2014

Courting problems

I don't know Rachel Canning or her parents, Sean and Elizabeth, three people from Lincoln Park, New Jersey, whose family squabble has boiled over from their own kitchen into a courtroom and the national news.

Rachel is an honors student at a private high school; she wants to be a biomedical engineer, but last October, she left the family home.  She says her parents threw her out; they say she left voluntarily because she found it onerous to follow house rules:  be respectful, keep a curfew, return “borrowed” items to her two sisters, manage a few chores, and reconsider her relationship with a boyfriend the parents believe is a bad influence.

The parents, cruel as they are, bought her a car, which is now parked at THEIR house. 

Rachel found refuge in the home of a female friend from her class.  That girl's father is an attorney, and he seems to be the one who suggested that Rachel take the matter to court, where Tuesday she lost the first round of her case. The judge ruled that her parents are NOT responsible for her tuition to the high school or to whichever college she plans to attend in the fall, but only because the high school is willing to forgive the $5300 remaining on her tab for this year.

Mr Canning is a retired local police chief who now works as a township administrator, and he laid down the rules of his house thusly:  "Private school, new car, college education; that all comes with living under our roof."

His lawyer, Laurie Rush-Masuret, read from a statement before the start of the hearing, saying the Cannings "are distraught that their oldest daughter feels that litigation is a better option than living together as a family."

Judge Peter Bogaard said that he "wish(ed) more energy would be spent on reuniting the family than keeping it apart."

The family meets in Family Court
“My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules,” Rachel said in her court papers.  So, according to Ms Rush-Masuret,  Rachel emancipated herself and removed herself from her parent’s “sphere of influence” by voluntarily moving out of their house “as she did not want to abide by her parents’ rules....”

So this is how it is today?  A child refuses to follow her parents' rules because does not wish to do so, and the parents are to blame for blaming her for not following their rules?

 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 
I, the somewhat Honorable Judge Clark, hereby cite two important precedents:
Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act,  Penal Code § 11164 et seq. 

(¶) The 12-year-old son of a guy I know called The Law Offices of Ronald M. Sharrow, seeking to file suit against his father, who had refused to permit the youth to watch Wrestlemania 47 on pay-per-view.  The law firm called the parents to ask that they have their child stop bothering them.

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1963, Pub. L. 93-247, 88 Stat. 4, codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. §§5101–5106. 

(¶) My requests to smoke cigarettes, chew Mail Pouch tobacco, drink beer and be given my own Corvette automobile and Triumph motorcycle were turned down in a landmark decision by my parents, who cited my age (12) and the fact that I was about to be grounded until I was married.

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