Court: NJ Parents Must Pay Estranged Daughter’s Tuition


Despite not speaking in two years, two New Jersey parents must pay for their adult daughter’s college tuition bill.

In 2013, 21-year-old Caitlyn Ricci sued her estranged parents for tuition for her attendance at Temple University.  Now, a Camden County judge has ordered her parents to pay $16,000 for every year she is enrolled in school.

Ricci’s grandparents paid for their granddaughter’s lawyer in the lawsuit, claiming her parents had kicked her out of their home two years prior.

However, her parents, divorced since 1997, said that they had done no such thing, instead saying that Ricci had voluntarily left her mother’s home after clashing over rules such as doing chores and maintaining a curfew that was set up after discovering that Ricci had taken up drinking.

The pair have been trying to communicate with their daughter since she moved in with her grandparents in February of 2013.  At that time, her mother made it clear to her that if she were to move out, that her parents would no longer financially help her.

The only time they have physically seen her has been in court.

“I send her cards, and I send her poems. I send her pictures. And I get no response,” her mother told the TV station.

After filing the lawsuit in 2013 while enrolled at Gloucester County College, a public college in New Jersey, a judge ordered her parents to help pay her tuition so long as Ricci applied for all the scholarships and loans that she could.

According to her parents, they stopped paying after she did not follow through with her end of the deal.

Ricci then transferred to Temple University in Philadelphia and brought the case back to court in 2014 with much higher tuition bills.

The annual payment of $16,000 by her parents is more than half of her yearly tuition bill of $26,000.  Some of that bill has already been paid for through financial aid.

Her parents say they will only pay the tuition bill if their daughter is willing to try to mend their broken relationship.  However, Michael Ricci said she still will not return their phone calls or even look at them in court.

I think she just wants money,” Ms. McGarvey said, the New York Daily News reported. “She wants us to pay for her education. She feels this is owed to her. Did I ever expect my daughter to sue me? No, of course not. It’s heartbreaking. What child does this? It’s insane.”

However, Ricci’s grandparents are staying on their granddaughter’s side, standing against their son.

“How would you have a relationship with your parents if they don’t want to contribute to college?” asked Angela Ricci, Caitlyn’s grandmother.

A similar case was seen earlier this year in New Jersey, when 18-year-old Rachel Canning sued her family for college tuition money to attend Western New England University in Massachusetts after having moved out of their house.  She later reconciled with her parents and dropped the lawsuit.

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