By: Mike Pike
Our attorneys recently heard of a case in which a high school student sued her own parents in a New Jersey Superior Court. An honor student and varsity athlete, the teen apparently moved out two days before her 18th birthday after a disagreement about obeying household rules. She moved in with a friend whose parents were said to be paying her legal bills. The teenager sought a court order that would force her parents to pay her child support, private school tuition, medical and related bills, college expenses and legal fees.
If you are wondering how such an outrageous case could be brought to court as a practical matter, so are we. We can’t help but wonder if the teen’s legal representation happened to care what was best for this young woman.
Thankfully, the judge in the case refused to order the parents to pay private school and college tuition, saying, “Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house? A kid could move out and then sue for an XBox, iPhone or 60-inch television.”
Regarding the parents’ disciplining their daughter after inappropriate behavior, the judge also asked, “What kind of parents would [they] be if they did not discipline her?” He stated the parents “had the right to set up rules.”
After all the fuss, the teenager has apparently been reunified with her parents – a scenario that we, as attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson and Pike, would have recommended from the start. If the family chose to work through the issues without going to trial, they would have saved a lot of money, time, heartache and bad publicity.
In observing this case, we find ourselves reflecting on the difference between lawyers who seek out a case for their own personal notoriety as opposed to those who do what’s in the best interest of their clients.
At Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson and Pike, clients are our first priority.
Mike joined the firm in 1999, becoming a partner in 2001. Mike, who was raised in Louisville, attended the University of Louisville where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History, graduating cum laude. Upon graduation he worked in a family business for almost six years and began his legal studies at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. He received his Juris doctorate in 1998 and began his practice as an assistant Meade County Attorney, as well as a sole practitioner.