N.J. high school student drops child support lawsuit against parents

New Jersey high school senior Rachel Canning, who gained international notoriety by suing her parents for child support and college tuition costs after she left their home, has formally dismissed her novel lawsuit.

Canning, accompanied by attorney Tanya N. Helfand, and her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning of Lincoln Park and their lawyer Angelo Sarno, appeared early today before Superior Court Judge Peter A. Bogaard in Morristown, N.J.

The judge accepted brief testimony from Rachel "with respect to her decision to dismiss the complaint" and found that she was making "a knowing and voluntary decision," according to a copy of the dismissal order.

Rachel, who left home and moved in with the Rockaway Township family of attorney John Inglesino, sued her parents on Feb. 24, claiming they had cut off emotional and financial support when she turned 18 on Nov. 1. Her parents counter-claimed that Rachel had become increasingly belligerent, refused to follow household rules, was drinking and would not break up with a boyfriend they believed was a bad influence.

After the Cannings ceased paying for the final half of Rachel's senior year at Morris Catholic and appeared unwilling to pay upcoming college costs, she filed a suit for "constructive abandonment." Inglesino, who drew criticism for bankrolling the lawsuit that cost his side at least $13,000, allowed Rachel to live in his home, he said, because she is best friends with his daughter Jaime and he was concerned her educational future was at risk without parental support.

Rachel unexpectedly returned home one week ago — March 11 — and her parents attorney, Angelo Sarno, said the family wanted to move on but the lawsuit still was pending. That same day, Helfand — Rachel's lawyer — filed an emergency application with the court declaring that she suspected Rachel was being pressured by her parents and the media to drop the lawsuit. Helfand wanted the judge to conduct a closed hearing, seal all records in the case and appoint a guardian to represent Rachel's interests but the judge declined.

Watch video below from The Asbury Park Press of the attorney for Rachel Canning's parents speaking to the media.


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