A Morristown, New Jersey judge has declined to rule that parents must pay over $600 per month in child support, including private high school tuition, to their daughter who has sued them. The teenager claims that her parents threw her out of the house, were verbally abusive, and maintained unreasonable rules. The parents claim that their daughter, now 18, voluntarily moved out of the house because she was unwilling to comply with reasonable household expectations.
The girl is a senior at a private high school, which charges tuition. Her tuition was paid through December, but her parents stopped paying tuition after she moved out of their home. This prompted her to ask the court to find that she is a minor and that her parents remain legally obligated to support her, including continuing to pay her high school tuition. The judge declined to order the requested child support, stating that it would set a dangerous precedent and potentially limit the ability of parents to set boundaries for their children without fear of court intervention.
This case is very unusual, as most child support lawsuits are brought between two parents. However, this does underscores the fact that parents are legally obligated to provide for the needs of their children in all cases, not just where the parents are divorced or separated. Such support includes the normal cost of living, such as food, everyday expenses, and medical expenses.
Failure to comply with a valid child support order may result in serious penalties for the parent, including income withholding, license suspension, and even jail in certain cases. Because there are such serious potential penalties involved, it is important for parents who are subjected to a child support order to be fully aware of their rights and obligations under the law.
Source: CBS New York, “Judge denies tuition money, child support to NJ teen suing parents,” March 4, 2014