"I have zero respect for my parents for what they've done and how they've handled the situation," stated Michael Ricci.
Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey of Cherry Hill NJ probably never saw the lawsuit coming nor expected to lose to their own daughter. They had their daughter Caitlyn, 21 while they were young and divorced in 1997 after about four years of marriage. Caitlyn lived with her mother and both parents did their best to make sure that Caitlyn had the best they could provide as well as plenty of love. Just as many teens though, Caitlyn became rebellious as she entered those high school years and her mother states that she tried to rein her in after she discovered that she was drinking.
Caitlyn evidently did not care for rules such as a curfew, household chores and summer classes so she left her mother's home in Feb 2013. She did not just hit the streets to hang out, she moved in with her paternal grandparents and was attending Gloucester County College, a local public college. Her parents state that she purchased a new car then and then filed suit for her parents to pay her college tuition.
In Oct 2013, a judge ordered her parents to pay her tuition as long as Caitlyn applied for all possible loans and scholarships. Her parents refused to pay her tuition because they claim that she failed to do so. They also tried to file for emancipation of Caitlyn but they were hit again with another lawsuit.....this time to pay for her tuition to Temple University. She had evidently applied to transfer there and had been accepted, something her parents had not known prior to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is based on what seems to be a strange New Jersey legal precedent known as "Newburgh" that states that divorced parents may be forced to contribute to their child's education, no matter what their age is. It is usually used in cases where one parent is refusing to pay their share of a child's education costs but in this case......... I think it has been abused. Caitlyn's grandparents have been footing the bill for her legal fight with her parents but they evidently don't think they could have used the money they are paying attorney Andrew Rochester.
Rochester has stated that Caitlyn's parents tossed her out of the home at age 18 and they had accused her of awful, awful things as well as questioning her morality. He states that she is a very sweet girl who only wants to go to college while her parents are trying to state that she is nothing but a spoiled brat. Her parents have stated that they have had no contact with Caitlyn, by her own choice, for the past two years and they have only seen her in the courtroom.
Just for a brief rundown of the facts then.......... Caitlyn got upset that she had to follow rules at home when she got close to 18 years old. Her solution was to move out and move in with her grandparents who have not sought any monetary support from her parents for her care. She won an earlier ruling that her parents would be on the hook for her college tuition at an inexpensive local college if she applied for financial aid. her parents claimed that she did not do that so they refused to pay the college bill. Caitlyn's solution was to be accepted by a much more expensive out of state college and sue her parents for that tuition bill. In the meantime, her grandparents have been footing the bill for her care and her lawyer in the lawsuit.
The one thing I will concede is that parents of my generation have given their children something we never had when we grew up........ a sense of entitlement. there were plenty of kids who wanted to go to college when I grew up but very few felt that it was our parent's responsibility to pay for it. We managed through savings accounts they had squirreled away, took out loans, worked a job to pay expenses, joined the military or just put it off until we could afford it. There was no "rule" that our parents were responsible for anything relating to us once we got to the age of 18 years old. We had grandparents who stuck their noses in family business and felt that things weren't correct but they were the ones who would take on the financial burden of correcting it if they chose to.
They are hundreds of children who would love to have grown up in a home that gave you almost everything you wanted. Hundreds who would love to go to college and can't find the funding for even a local community college. Caitlyn could have done just as well to stay at the local college that she was at and if she felt that she needed to upgrade to a better college, that is on her tab.
I am sorry that people are being mean to you now but I have to agree in principle.......... you sued for something many people struggle to accomplish on their own. You state that you have changed and you are grown up....... heck you are 21 years old.... grow up and take care of yourself. That means go to college where ever you want but pay you own bill as well. If you want to make mom and dad responsible for your upkeep, then admit that you are still a child, stop by and see them a bit and follow their rules. As for Caitlyn's parents....... I am sorry that you lost for the moment in court. I don't feel that you should be held hostage by a spoiled child who is not even been living under your roof for two years and someone else is caring for. Step up grandmom and grandpop....... you think she should go to any college she chooses, you are welcome to pay as well.
Update Dec 10 2014:
Caitlyn Ricci and her parents were back in court over her college tuition payments and they have come to a bit of an agreement. Her parent's have agreed to pay $906 for her community college expenses but they are still refusing to pay towards her $16,000 bill now that she has transferred to Temple University.
Caitlyn evidently moved out of the family home over an underage drinking incident.......... an incident that actually was more than them catching her with a beer in hand. Caitlyn was kicked out of the Disney College Program that her parents had paid for by being caught drinking underage. They then insisted that she take a summer class as "punishment" for getting kicked out of the program. She then decided that it was better to move in with her grandparents in Cherry Hill NJ rather than do chores around the house and observe a curfew her parents had imposed after she repeatedly got caught drinking.
Her track record at community college was nothing stellar either even though she claims that she got all A's and B's and ........ well a C as well. It seems to me that she should have stayed at the community college where she was until she managed to make solid grades but then, why not transfer to an expensive college. Her parent's claim that Caitlyn did not apply for all of the aid that she could have for her tuition but her grandfather stated that she did get some financial aid.
Maura McGarvey had gotten pregnant with Caitlyn while in college and worked full time while still attending classes. Apparently Caitlyn does not feel that she should have to do anything like that though. Both of Caitlyn's parents have remarried and have young children. The court has stated that their combined household income is $272,000 but honestly, they have two household's now to support on that combined income and Caitlyn is not a part of either household by her own choice.
It was stated in court that Caitlyn is a young adult and capable of making her own decisions because it is her own life. Well, if it is her life and she is an adult, try being one for once and carry your own weight. Caitlyn's parents should not be saddled with a huge college bill for a child that does not want to live with them or even speak to them. That was her choice so she should reap the benefits of that choice........find a way to pay your own way or play by your parents rules if you want them to pay. Plenty of other college students work while going to school or have something called a college loan......... try doing it that way if you really are an adult Caitlyn. Stomping your feet and throwing a legal temper tantrum like a two year old does nothing to prove that you are mature.