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Student who sued parents to get them to support her after she moved out returns home

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 4 2015 12:35 p.m. MDT

High school senior Rachel Canning, 18, appears in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J., Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Canning sued her parents for financial support and college tuition after she claims they threw her out of the home.  (Bob Karp, Associated Press) High school senior Rachel Canning, 18, appears in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J., Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Canning sued her parents for financial support and college tuition after she claims they threw her out of the home. (Bob Karp, Associated Press)

ROSELAND, N.J. — The New Jersey honor student who sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home has reunited with them, and the family is now asking for privacy.

Rachel Canning's return does not involve any financial or other considerations, the lawyer for the 18-year-old's parents said Wednesday. Angelo Sarno said that the dispute had been settled "amicably," but refused to comment further on the litigation.

Sarno said Rachel Canning moved back in with her parents on Tuesday night and said the notoriety surrounding the suit had damaged the family.

"This is a matter that should have been brought in some counselor's office, not into a courtroom," Sarno said. "There's a long road ahead, this is not something that's going to happen overnight. The point of this process? The healing needs to begin."

Elizabeth and Sean Canning listen to testimony in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J., Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The Canning's daughter, Rachel, sued them, asking a court to make them support her and pay for her college. (Bob Karp, Associated Press) Elizabeth and Sean Canning listen to testimony in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J., Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The Canning's daughter, Rachel, sued them, asking a court to make them support her and pay for her college. (Bob Karp, Associated Press)

A judge last week had denied the teen's request for child support and to have her parents pay her remaining high school tuition. But the judge scheduled an April court date to consider the over-arching question of whether the Cannings are obligated to financially support their adult daughter.

State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard sounded skeptical of some of the claims in the lawsuit, saying it could lead to teens "thumbing their noses" at their parents, leaving home and then asking for financial support.

"Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?" he asked. "We should be mindful of a potentially slippery slope."

Canning had left her parents' house on Oct. 30, two days before she turned 18 after a tumultuous stretch during which her parents separated and reconciled and the teen began getting into uncharacteristic trouble at school.

In this March 4, 2014, file photo, Rachel Canning smiles during a hearing at the Morris County Courthouse, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Morristown, N.J. Canning, the New Jersey honor student who sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home, has reunited with her parents. (John O'Boyle, Associated Press) In this March 4, 2014, file photo, Rachel Canning smiles during a hearing at the Morris County Courthouse, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Morristown, N.J. Canning, the New Jersey honor student who sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home, has reunited with her parents. (John O'Boyle, Associated Press)

In court filings, Canning's parents, retired Lincoln Park police Chief Sean Canning and his wife, Elizabeth, said their daughter voluntarily left home because she didn't want to abide by reasonable household rules, such as being respectful, keeping a curfew, doing a few chores and ending a relationship with a boyfriend her parents say is a bad influence. They say that shortly before she turned 18, she told her parents that she would be an adult and could do whatever she wanted.

She said in her lawsuit that her parents are abusive, contributed to an eating disorder she developed and pushed her to get a basketball scholarship. They say they were supportive, helped her through the eating disorder and paid for her to go to a private school where she would not get as much playing time in basketball as she would have at a public school.

Rachel Canning had been living in Rockaway Township with the family of her best friend. The friend's father, former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino, was paying for the lawsuit.

Rachel Canning is sworn in during a hearing at the Morris County Courthouse, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Morristown, N.J. Canning, an honor student who says her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18, sued them, asking a court to make them support her and pay for her college.  (John O'Boyle, Associated Press) Rachel Canning is sworn in during a hearing at the Morris County Courthouse, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Morristown, N.J. Canning, an honor student who says her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18, sued them, asking a court to make them support her and pay for her college. (John O'Boyle, Associated Press)

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