Parents reordered to pay for daughter's college tuition, refuse

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
VIDEO: Tuition fight
For the first time tonight we are hearing from the 21-year-old New Jersey girl who is suing her parents to pay for her out-of-state college tuition.

CAMDEN, N.J. -- The battle over who should pay for a 21-year-old girl's education continued in Camden County court Monday.

The court case of Ricci vs. Ricci has gained national attention and for the first time in court we heard from 21-year old Caitlyn who has sued her parents to force them to pay for her out of state tuition at Temple University.

Her parents, Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey, are fighting a judge's order demanding they pay about $16,000 a year.

Judge Shusted allowed Action News to record video, but no audio of the proceedings where Ricci said she does love her parents, but feels they don't understand how important her education is to her.

"It is nice to see that she is alive and doing well, but it is hurtful because she wouldn't look at us. When I got emotional in the courtroom and when Michael got emotional in the courtoom, she doesn't have any emotion," McGarvey said.

The judge denied the parents request to reconsider his prior order for them to pay.

But this battle isn't over yet.

Caitlyn has filed a motion to hold them in contempt of court, after they refused to pay for Temple.

"That's fine. They can hold me in contempt of court. They can do whatever they want. I'm not going to pay. I'm not going to give them any money until my daughter has a relationship with me and we start to heal our family," Michael Ricci said.

Caitlyn has been estranged from her divorced parents for almost 2 years.

Michael Ricci and Maura McGarvey say it's because she refused to follow the rules and voluntarily moved out.

They rejected a settlement agreement and say they plan to appeal that decision. Tuition was due on November 12th. Caitlyn is asking for a fine of $100 a day until her parents pay the tuition she says she is owed.

"A lot of people call her a spoiled brat because she wants her parents to pay 100 percent of her college and in fact, she is not asking for that, never has been," Caitlyn's attorney Andrew Rochester said.

Ricci and McGarvey are also meeting with state lawmakers Tuesday in attempt to change the laws that treat divorced parents differently than those that stay together.