Caitlyn Ricci, 21, has been battling her parents over college tuition in court since August 2013. On Monday, a judge ruled that Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey must pay $16,000 toward their daughter’s tuition for Temple University, where Caitlyn is a student. Earlier, another judge ruled the parents, who are divorced, must also foot the bill for a community college she attended before transferring to Temple. In his own words, Michael Ricci offers his take on his family’s ordeal toYahoo Parenting exclusively.
Most nights before I fall asleep, I have tears in my eyes thinking aboutthe difficulty my family is going through. My daughter is suing her mother and me for $16,000 towards college tuition, and a judge has ruled in her favor. My daughter moved out, and I only ever see her in court. It’s certainly not what I wanted for my family.
Every day I wake up and miss my daughter. I miss talking to her, seeing her, asking her about her day, and being involved in her life. I understand that after she was kicked out of her Disney internship, a program she participated in to help prepare for college, she was upset and angry at the rules her mother and I set for her. She was kicked out of the program for underage drinking, and so we had to set boundaries. That included chores, a curfew, and summer classes. When Caitlyn left our home in February 2013, to go to her grandparents, we thought we’d let her go for a couple days and then she would come home. When we called her grandparents to ask that they send her home, they said, “No, she can stay here as long as she wants.” That’s when we knew we had problems.
Maura and I have mutually parented Caitlyn her entire life. We’ve never before been that divorced couple that is in and out of court. We went to court only once — for our divorce. Although we may have disagreed at times, we always had Caitlyn’s best interests in mind. Always.
I found out through Twitter that my daughter was attending Temple [University in Philadelphia]. Yes, Twitter. And now, even after her mother and I agreed that if Caitlyn transferred to a state college we would help her financially (even though she hasn’t spoken to us in almost two years), a judge is telling me that if my daughter wants to go to Temple, she can go, and we have to pay for it. Basically, Caitlyn can go anywhere she wants and we have to pay. We have no say.
I am disappointed in the New Jersey Family court system for making parenting decisions for my daughter, as if they know what is best for her. The bottom line is, she made a mistake when she got kicked out of her internship program. There are consequences for her actions. She didn’t want to abide by our rules, so she left. We asked her several times to come home and she never did. It makes my blood boil listening to a judge tell me that my daughter can go to any school in country she wants to, have no relationship with her parents, and we have to pay! We offered in-state tuition and she wants to go out of state. Common sense would say she should pay for it. The law is ridiculous. My ex and I have met with legislators who are writing a new bill that protects parents from this happening again. Do you realize that if you are married in the state of New Jersey, you are not under any legal obligation to pay for college? But, if you get divorced, you must contribute? Please, someone tell me how that makes sense. Not only do you have to pay, but apparently you have to pay for any college they want to go to, anywhere in the country. My ex and I have five kids between us, a mortgage, and other expenses. Why don’t they take any of that into account?
Source: Yahoo news