How to Evict an Adult Child

By Editorial Team

Updated December 15, 2018

Move. Cardboard boxes in empty room corner.


Despite the family relationship, you must follow the laws of your state and county when evicting an adult child. These laws are similar to those a landlord must follow to evict an undesirable tenant. The eviction process takes time, and there are court fees to consider. But in the end, you’ll be able to legally remove your adult child from your home.

The Eviction Process

Eviction is a legal process that requires very specific actions, including filing with the court certain time-sensitive documents, paying appropriate fees and meeting other legal obligations. You might find a visit to an attorney familiar with eviction beneficial, even if it’s just to discuss the details of how to proceed.

When your adult child pays monthly rent or otherwise contributes toward household expenses, but has no lease, the courts tend to consider him a month-to-month tenant. As such, you are required to give him a written 30-day notice to move. Some states also expect you to give sufficient notice to move to someone who regularly receives mail at your address or lists it as his permanent residence on official documents, even if he doesn’t pay rent.

If your adult child signed a lease, he’s entitled to remain through the term of the lease, unless he fails to follow the rules outlined in the rental agreement. This includes paying rent on time and adhering to other written rules. For example, he must abide by a policy of no pets or no overnight guests if those terms are stated in the lease. And it can become a criminal matter if your adult child behaves violently toward members of the household. In that case, you can call the police to have him removed immediately, then bar him from the premises by obtaining a restraining order from the court.

Notice to Evict

Specific information regarding your jurisdiction’s eviction process is available at your county court clerk’s office or on the court’s website. The court clerk is an officer of the court who, among other duties, files legal paperwork, accepts fees and verifies official documents. Most court websites include printable forms and other pertinent information regarding eviction.

Generally, you must provide your adult child with a written eviction notice that includes the address of your property and lists a specific date by which to leave. Some jurisdictions also require you to complete and retain a notarized affidavit of service. This is a formal document that states you have delivered the notice of eviction.

States generally require that you give three to five days' notice for failure to pay rent or a 10-day notice for breaking other terms of the lease. You may typically terminate a month-to-month lease or oral agreement by issuing a 30-day notice. You can post the notice to evict on your adult child’s door, deliver it to her in person or drop it on the floor in front of her door if she refuses to take it.

Proceeding Through the Court System

Should your adult child refuse to leave after the period stated in the notice, it’s time to file a complaint with the court clerk. After you’ve paid the court costs, you’ll receive a copy of the complaint, the date and time of your hearing before a judge, and a legal summons for your adult child to attend the hearing. It’s your responsibility to present the summons to your local sheriff’s office, which then delivers it to your child. Depending on the court’s schedule, it may take several weeks to get a hearing.

If the judge grants your petition for eviction, he’ll give your child time to vacate your home. Depending on your jurisdiction, this can vary from a couple of days to several weeks. If your unwanted tenant refuses to move at this point, contact your local sheriff’s office or police department. They will review your court order, then remove the adult child from your home, by force if necessary.