"She’s demanding that we pay her bills but she doesn’t want to live at home"

It’s not unheard of for youngsters to take legal action against their parents for various offenses — from a pregnant Texas teen who sued her parents for allegedly pressuring her to get an abortion, to a pair of Illinois siblings in their 20s who sued their mom (unsuccessfully) for bad mothering. Even so, the Canning case is an extremely unusual one, according to experts in family law. That’s because similar suits typically involve either a divorce situation, with parents disagreeing on a child’s financial support, or a fight for emancipation, in which a teen is declared financially independent from parents.

“This young woman is actually saying, ‘I want the court to compel my parents to continue to support me financially. That’s what’s unique in this case,” Mary Coogan, assistant director of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New Jersey, tells Yahoo Shine. “So this young lady is in a unique situation because it does become very fact-sensitive. There’s really no law directly on point.” What families in similar situations have done, in Coogan’s experience, is to file for what’s called a “family crisis petition,” in which the court will try to mediate an agreeable outcome between the parents and their child.