Young Adult Sues Parents for College Tuition

Money ResizedCaitlyn Ricci’s parents divorced in 1997 when she was four years old. It appears that she primarily lived with her mother but also was able to spend time with her father.

In February of 2013, Caitlyn Ricci (who was now past the age of 18) left her mother’s home. Technically, she was an adult who was no longer living with her parents. Instead, she went to live with her grandparents (her father’s mom and dad).

It is unclear exactly why Caitlyn Ricci decided to move. Her mother, Maura McGarvey, wrote about the situation on her blog. In short, Maura McGarvey states that after discovering that Caitlyn had been drinking while underage, a plan was put into place. Caitlyn would be expected to have a full-time job, household chores, a curfew, and to register for 3 summer classes.

According to Maura McGarvey, the dispute was about the 3 summer classes. She claims her daughter chose to move out of her home “instead of following the rules we established”. Caitlyn moved to her paternal grandparents’ home. Maura McGarvey wrote in her blog that she made it clear to Caitlyn that moving out would mean she would not receive any financial help from her parents to pay for her college.

Caitlyn’s version of the situation has not been made public (so far as I can tell). That being said, it is not unheard of for parents, and their adult children who still live at home, to have conflict. Some reports about this story imply that Caitlyn was kicked out or was “pushed out”.

Caitlyn sued her parents for the cost of her community college tuition at Rowan College. The school is located in Pennsylvania. The family lives in New Jersey. The amount was $906. A judge ruled in Caitlyn’s favor and her parents were required to pay that tuition. Caitlyn was 21 years old at that time.

More recently, Caitlyn Ricci sued her parents for the cost of her tuition at Temple University in Pennsylvania. It is an out-of-state school and the tuition cost $26,000. All but $16,000 has been paid for with financial aid. Again, a judge ruled in favor of Caitlyn. Her parents have refused to pay the cost, and face possible contempt charges.

About half of all states have sometimes required a non-custodial parent (who was divorced, or who never married the child’s other parent) to pay for their offspring’s college or other post high school education. New Jersey is among those states.

Image by 401(K) 2012 on Flickr.

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