Even though it seems rather bizarre for a parent to sue their own child, it happens. Take, for example, the case of Christina and Mark Rotondo in New York. The couple had to resort to legal action when their 30-year-old son refused to move out of their home even after they gave him multiple warnings and opportunities to do so.
Let’s dive deeper into this curious case and see what we can learn about family and lawsuits.
Son who won’t leave left his parents no option but to sue
In 2018, Christina and Mark Rotondo took an extreme measure when they resorted to legal means to have their 30-year-old son Michael evicted from their home in Camillus, New York. After months of failing to get Michael to move out on his own accord, the couple filed a petition for eviction to the Onondaga County Supreme Court.
At the time of the hearing, Michael had been living with his parents for eight years, during which he had refused to pay rent or do chores. His parents produced evidence of them writing Michael five notices between February and March 2018. One notice gave an ultimatum of 14 days for him to vacate the house, another warned him of potential legal actions, and yet another offered $1,100 so he could find a place to stay. Michael actually took the money — but he didn’t see himself out.
Ultimately, after several weeks of litigation and public attention, the court ordered that Michael vacate his parents' property. The judge decided that the notices should be sufficient grounds for terminating Michael’s stay.
Michael finally left his parents' house in June 2018.
A unique case – not
While the specifics of the Rotondo case are unique, the situation of adult children living with their parents is not unheard of. Studies even show that the number of adults living with their parents is increasing.
There can be several reasons why an adult offspring might choose to live with their parents rather than strike out on their own. For some, the cost of living independently can be unreasonably high. They may find it difficult to secure a job that can cover rent and other expenses, such as their student loan payments. And for others, the sense of comfort and familiarity that comes with living with one's parents can be hard to give up.
Whatever the reason may be, it's important for the parties involved to establish clear boundaries and expectations early on. This way, there is less chance for conflict down the road. If an adult child is unwilling or unable to meet the expectations set by their parents, then eviction proceedings may be necessary.
How can parents legally remove their adult children from their home?
If discussing, negotiating, bribing, or pleading with the adult child doesn’t work, then the parents can take legal action to toss them out of their home. The appropriate course of action depends on several conditions, such as whether the parents invited their child to live with them, if the child ever paid rent, and if there was any written agreement regarding the child’s stay. State laws also come into play, as different states have their particular laws on trespassing, eviction, and ejectment.
For instance, in some states like California, parents can label their offspring as a trespasser and have the police remove them from their home. However, depending on the situation, like if it appears the trespasser has been living on the property for a while or was invited by the parents, the police may not get involved. In such cases, another option is for parents to change the locks on their homes or dump the child's belongings out of the house until the latter leaves. However, we advise consulting an attorney first before taking these drastic measures.
In Washington, the eviction of a family member may require the parent to file an ejectment suit in court. This process is more complex than a traditional eviction, and you will need an experienced lawyer to manage it.
If you need your adult child to move out of your home in the Evergreen State, or if you need legal advice regarding any family-related concerns, drop us a line at Buckingham, LaGrandeur, and Williams. Our dedicated lawyers are ready to help.