You Can Sue Your Parents To Pay Your College Tuition!

It’s a very litigation-focused day today on the ‘Fold. Here’s another fun, petty court story fought bitterly over low stakes! 21-year-old Caitlyn Ricci successfully sues parents to cover (some) costs of college. Apparently this is a good strategy if you’re from Jersey.

In New Jersey, the precedent that parents should pay for some of a child’s college costs dates to 1982, when Newburgh v. Arrigo was heard in the state Supreme Court. In that case, the judges debated whether Joan Newburgh — who married her husband, Melvin, two years before he was killed in a car accident in 1975 — should have to pay higher education costs for his 19-year-old son, Steven.

“In general,” the court wrote in its decision, “financially capable parents should contribute to the higher education of children who are qualified students.”

Totally. Though, to be fair, there’s “should” and there’s “must,” and the state, in its decision, seems to be coming down on the side of “must”:

After two hours of glares, tears, and head shaking, [Superior Court Judge] Shusted reaffirmed his order that McGarvey and Michael Ricci pay $906 of their daughter’s tuition for Rowan College at Gloucester County.

Take that, deadbeats.

These parents have now spent years fighting over $900, and paying lawyers for the privilege of doing so. I mean, I get it, on some level — I too would put up a fight if someone told me I had to fork over nearly a thousand bucks. Unless it was, you know, for my child. And she doesn’t want a T-Bird, for god’s sake. She wants to go to college, for which, in their divorce agreement, her parents agreed they would pay.

“It’s her life,” [Judge] Shusted said.

“Then let her pay for it,” Michael Ricci, a senior account manager, said. “Because I can’t afford it, and neither can her mom.”

Rochester, Caitlyn Ricci’s attorney, said the parents’ combined household income was more than $272,000 a year.

The 21-year-old Ricci has transferred to Temple. Whether her parents need to contribute to her tuition there as well has not yet been settled. (Pun intended.)

Perhaps you feel that her parents have been manhandled by the nanny state? Her mom certainly thinks so.

I was supposed to come up with my share of $16,000 (my ex-husband is responsible for his portion as well) for an adult who has no relationship with me, my husband, or her brothers. Caitlyn has not been to my home since the day she left (in February 2013) despite the fact that I have continued to invite her to family functions, send her cards, gifts, poems, pictures, etc. She doesn’t want a family; she wants money. And the courts have told her that this is completely acceptable.

She invites you to contribute to the GoFundMe here. Perhaps she will send you one of her poems in thanks!

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