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How to Evict an Adult Child From Your Home
Many parents these days are faced with having an adult child living with them who has lost his or her job, gotten into legal or financial trouble, or has become difficult to impossible to live with. Keep in mind, even though they are adults, children still should abide by the rules in your house. That could include anything from simply keeping his or her room clean or helping with chores to more difficult topics like not bringing illegal drugs into your house or not bringing people home for sleepovers (which would have been cute when they were 10, but is awkward now that they are adults).
Eviction May Be the Answer
If your relationship has broken down so much that straight honest talk goes nowhere or your adult child is doing things to endanger you or the rest of your family, it's time to take action. However, in real life, eviction is not as simple as Failure to Launch may make it sound.
For example, did you know that in most states, adult children living in their parents' homes are considered to have squatters' rights even though they are paying no rent? In an ideal world, you could simply ask them to leave or change the locks and put their clothing by the curb while they are away. However, the law protects renters—even those who don't pay their rent! There are even laws against you being able to put their things on the curb. You will have to go through the eviction process and evict your own child. It may seem harsh, but situations can get so extreme that you are left with little or no choice.
Starting the Process
A smart way to cover your bases is to give your expectations for living in your home to your child in writing. Outline exactly which behaviors you will not tolerate and have him or her sign. Get it notarized if possible. Specify the consequences, i.e., eviction, of violating the rules. This sets up a tenant/landlord relationship and gives then guidelines for behavior in black and white. Then, if they violate the "terms of the lease," it will come as no surprise when you begin the eviction process.
Get the Law on Your Side
Research the laws in your state concerning the eviction process. Every state has different guidelines. Call your local magistrate's office, since eviction is a civil matter. What they will ask you to do in most cases is sign an affidavit and fill out paperwork to start the process at your local courthouse. Some counties actually have the form on line, which will speed the process considerably. There is generally a filing fee of anywhere from $30 to $90. Trust me, if your adult child is causing legal or financial problems for you, this is money well spent!
After you file the eviction paperwork, your adult child will be served with an eviction notice. This is where things may get very uncomfortable at your home for a while. The entire process can take anywhere from 10 days to months depending on the state and even the county you live in. Many children become so incensed when they realize they are being evicted, they will leave of their own accord (a good thing). However, I have known of some hard cases who refused to budge. Stick to your guns, parents! The sanity you save may be your own!
Serve Them Notice
After children have been served their eviction notices, they generally have an opportunity for a hearing to plead their case. Yes, shocking, isn't it? But laws are set up to protect renters, even if the process seems bordering on ridiculous when you apply it to your own non-rent paying adult child. If your child has no valid defense, the eviction process will continue. In some cases, renters will be given the opportunity to remedy the situation, but if your child has been giving you grief for several years, 30 days is hardly enough to turn his or her life around!
Tough Love Sometimes Is the Only Course of Action
Paperwork still has to be filed with the sheriff's office, which often has to issue a motion to evict. The law may even give the renter anywhere from 30-90 days to vacate the property. Once the time has passed, if your child still refuses to move, you may legally move his or her things (very nicely packaged) to the curb for trash pick-up. Don't forget to change your locks!
Eviction is an extreme measure to use against your adult child, but there are cases where it is certainly warranted and the only remedy to an impossible situation. Talk first, try to come to an understanding, but if nothing comes from your talking until you're blue in the face, start the process. It's your home and you have the right to say who lives there and what goes on there!