Ear Hustle

Estranged Daughter’s New Jersey Parents Ordered To Pay Her College Tuition

Two New Jersey parents will have to foot the bill for their adult daughter’s college tuition ― even though she hasn’t spoken to them in two years, they claimed.

Temple University junior Caitlyn Ricci sued her estranged parents for tuition money in 2013. On Thursday, a Camden County judge ordered the divorced couple to cough up $16,000 every year the 21-year-old is enrolled in classes.

Caitlyn Ricci’s grandparents paid for the lawyer she used to sue their own son, WPVI reported. They said Ricci’s unsupportive parents ― Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey ― kicked her out of the family home two years ago.

The divorced couple said they never turned their back on their daughter: Instead, she left her mother’s home, refusing to accept house rules like chores and a curfew, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

They’ve tried reaching out to her after she moved to her grandparents’ in February 2013

21-year-old Caitlyn Ricci (l.) won a lawsuit against her estranged parents Maura McGarvey and Michael Ricci (r.) that ordered them to help pay for her college tuition.
21-year-old Caitlyn Ricci (r.) won a lawsuit against her estranged parents Maura McGarvey (l.) and Michael Ricci that ordered them to help pay for her college tuition.

Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey, Caitlyn Ricci’s divorced parents, said their adult daughter left home voluntarily and hasn’t spoken to them in two years.

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

The only time the parents have seen Caitlyn Ricci is in court, they said.

Caitlyn Ricci filed the suit in 2013 soon after she moved out of her mom’s house. That October ― when she was enrolled at Gloucester County College, a public New Jersey school ― a judge ordered her parents to help with tuition so long as Caitlyn Ricci applied for all possible loans and scholarships.

Her parents claimed she didn’t apply, so they refused to pay, the newspaper reported.

A New Jersey judge ordered Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey and help their estranged adult daughter with her college bills, even though the 21-year-old cut ties with them two years ago, they claim. 

Over the summer, the New Jersey student transferred to Temple University, an out-of-state school in Philadelphia.

When she brought the case back to court in 2014, suddenly the tuition bills were a lot higher.

On Thursday, a judge set the parents’ annual payment at $16,000 ― more than half of her annual $26,000 tuition bill, her lawyer said.

Her parents were devastated.

“I think she just wants money. She wants us to pay for her education. She feels this is owed to her,” Maura McGarvey said.

“Did I ever expect my daughter to sue me? No, of course not. It’s heartbreaking.”

She added: “What child does this? It’s insane.”

The parents said they will only pay the tuition bill if their daughter makes an effort to reconcile the broken relationship. She still refuses to return messages and won’t look at them even in court, Michael Ricci said.

Caitlyn Ricci's paternal grandparents paid for the lawyer she used to sue their son.

“When he ruled that way, I said there is no way she is getting anything from me until we establish some kind of a relationship again,” Michael Ricci said.

But Caitlyn Ricci’s grandparents are standing with their granddaughter ― and against their son and his ex-wife.

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

The case mirrors that of another college student from New Jersey: Earlier this year 18-year-old Rachel Canning moved out of her family’s home and then sued her parents for tuition to Western New England University in Massachusetts. She later reconciled with her parents and dropped the lawsuit.

Source: NY Daily News

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