Motion for contempt denied as daughter sues parents for tuition

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CAMDEN (WPVI) -- The 21-year-old New Jersey girl who is suing her parents was back in court Monday, asking a judge to hold her parents in contempt for failing to pay for her out-of-state college tuition at Temple University.

Neither of Caitlyn Ricci's parents showed up in court.

They have both been clear they are not paying for their adult daughter's education as long as they are estranged.

So, they risked facing a hefty fine or even jail time.

Caitlyn Ricci was silent as she walked into court.

Her grandfather, Matthew Ricci, tried to shield his granddaughter, who has yet to respond to her critics.

In court, Caitlyn Ricci again asked a judge to force her divorced parents to pay $16,000 for her out-of-state tuition at Temple and asked for a $100 per day fine until they pay.

Bob Adinolfi, the attorney for Ricci's mother, said "My client, I can only speak for my client, has never said that she does not want her daughter educated. But what she has said is there are certain parameters, there are certain financial restrictions and they need to be followed."

Judge Donald Stein denied the motion for contempt, and further said he is not going to force anyone to pay any money while the case is pending an appeal that was filed by Caitlyn's parents.

This was a big blow to her case.

"It is, understandably, a very difficult time for her. We have three court orders that tell parents to pay for college and three court orders were turned into three pieces of paper," Ricci's attorney Andrew Rochester said.

"I think we are happy that the wheels of justice are now going to start to turn," Andrew Smith, the attorney for Ricci's father, said.

Now the decision is in the appeal division's hands.

Caitlyn's attorney says without her parents being to compelled to pay her tuition, she now risks being thrown out of school.

"Absent money appearing out of nowhere, quite frankly. Caitlyn may have to leave school in the coming semester," Rochester said.

Last week, 26 assemblymen from New Jersey introduced a bipartisan bill to protect parents' rights. It would overrule the current case law which forces divorced parents to contribute to their child's tuition.

Assemblyman Chris Brown hopes that bill could pass in the next 3-4 months, before this case sees the inside of a courtroom again.