It is the job of parents to provide for and protect their children, especially young children who have limited means of accomplishing this on their own. Along with this duty comes the responsibility of raising children who can grow into the adults that you want them to be. In order to accomplish this, many parents place certain rules on the child or state that certain chores must be performed. What happens when a parent does not provide for the basic needs of a child? What happens when a child uses the law to act out against a parent for establishing household rules?
Many wondered these same questions after a recent case shocked the entire nation. In 2014 Rachel Canning, who was 18 years old at the time, filed a lawsuit against her parents in New Jersey. Rachel alleged in her lawsuit that her parents forced her out of their home and that she was unable to support herself financially. The lawsuit asked that her parents pay the remaining tuition for her last semester at her private high school, pay her current living and transportation expenses, commit to paying her college tuition, and pay her legal fees for the suit she filed against her parents.
After months of court appearances and capturing headlines around the country, Rachel dismissed her case after moving back in with her parents. This may have been due to the sentiment of the court previously shown. In a previous appearance, the Court refused to grant Rachel an emergency order that would have required her parents to pay her current bills. During the ruling, Judge Peter Boggard noted, “[d]o we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house?”
As previously stated, this case was filed in a New Jersey court and was governed by New Jersey law. However, Georgia domestic relations statutes provide for a similar situation. Georgia law states, “[i]t is the joint and several duty of each parent to provide for the maintenance, protection, and education of his or her child until the child reaches the age of majority, dies, marries, or becomes emancipated, whichever first occurs, except as otherwise authorized and ordered pursuant to subsection (e) of Code Section 19-6-15 and except to the extent that the duty of the parents is otherwise or further defined by court orders.” Under this statute, the Canning case would not have been allowed to proceed, as Rachel was 18 when the case was initiated. Georgia statute enforces this duty on parents of children who have not yet reached majority, which is 18 years of age.
If you are being accused of violating Georgia Code Section 19-7-2, please contact the attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Conversely, if you as child believe that your basic needs are not being met, our attorneys can help. In either one of these situations, our attorneys will help you navigate through this difficult time and represent your best interests.