Caitlyn Ricci just won the lawsuit she filed against her parents this past spring. The court has now ordered her estranged parents to pay up to $16,000 a year towards her college tuition.
Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey have not seen their daughter outside of court in two years. Caitlyn, now 21, had moved out of her mom's house to live with her paternal grandparents. Both parties are pointing the finger at who is to blame. While Maura claims Caitlyn moved out because she didn't want to follow house rules, Caitlyn's grandmother tells a different story.
Andrew Rochester, Caitlyn's lawyer, claims that Caitlyn did not move out voluntarily and that her mother kicked her out. While Michael explains that they provided a loving environment for Caitlyn to grow up in, Angela Ricci, the grandmother, disagrees. "How would you have a loving relationship with your parents if they don't want to contribute to college?" asked Angela.
Maura believes that this is just a way for Caitlyn to get more money from them. According to the mother, Caitlyn had bought a car just after she moved out and then she filed the lawsuit. Maura and Michael were trying to legally emancipate their daughter, but Caitlyn beat them to it when Maura recieved the court orders informing them of the lawsuit the Friday before Mother's Day.
The judge cited Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982) in court in which the Supreme Court had ruled that divorced parents must contribute to their child's college education. The parents say they are willing to pay for Caitlyn's education as long as it's in the state of New Jersey and she is living at home with them. Michael commented, "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."
It doesn't look like Caitlyn plans on or is required to re-establish a relationship with her parents in order to collect the money and attend school out-of-state at Temple University. Her grandfather believes Caitlyn's mother has every right to pay, saying: "It's the law. It's the law in New Jersey. Go check the law. And two judges said she has to pay."