Ensure Peaceful Cohabitation When Your Adult Children Bring Their Family to Live with You

There are some people who are still fighting to recover after the economic downturn years ago. Having to support a family isn’t easy and some adults have been forced to return to their parent’s home in an effort to get back on their feet.

Turning your children away when they need help can be very difficult for many parents. If your children want to move their family into your home while they attempt to get their economic footing, it’s important to set strict guidelines for what the expectations are if you want everyone to be able to live in the house peacefully.

The following guide walks you through the things that should be included in a contract that you have your child sign before you allow them and their family to move into your home.

Establish a Timeline

You don’t want to allow your child’s family to move into your house with an open-ended timeline. This can cause people to be lackadaisical about getting back on their feet and cause them to live with you for years on end. It’s best to talk to your child about the estimated amount of time they feel it will take for them to get their economic situation figured out. It’s important to be reasonable with them.

Most people need six months to a year to get themselves financially sound after the loss of a job or economic loss.

Be sure that yourself and your child agree upon the timeline you choose. You want to be sure that they don’t try to amend things later on down the road and that an exact date is picked that they have to move out of your house. This ensures you both know what the expectations are.

Establish a Payment Agreement

While your child’s family is living in your home, they should still be responsible for paying their own bills and a portion of yours. Your electricity, water, and possibly even waste disposal costs could dramatically increase once you have more people living with you.

You need to put in writing exactly how much you expect your child and their spouse to pay each month toward utilities, room, and board. It should be a reasonable amount because you have to remember that they are trying to save money to get back on their feet. The exact amount needs to be included on the contract that you are both going to sign.

Establish Cleaning Expectations

When more people live in the house, there will be more mess that needs to be cleaned up. It’s important to set expectations as to who will handle what cleaning, when it will be done, and what falls into your realm of responsibility and what doesn’t. You don’t want to be stuck cleaning up after everyone all of the time.

If needed, you may want to even create a chore chart that everyone has to sign that states exactly what their jobs are within the house each week. This ensures that everything is taken care of and that no one leaves everything on your shoulders to do.

Establish Boundaries

You need to make clear that your child’s family will be living in your house. They need to play by your rules when they are there. Establish boundaries that state what is and is not allowed within your home. If you don’t like drinking, you can say that alcohol is not allowed on the premise. If you don’t like smoking, you can dictate that it’s a nonsmoking premise.

You need to be sure that you and your family are going to be able to live under the same roof comfortably, but you don’t have to allow them to do anything in your house that you don’t want them to do. Putting everything in writing ensures that no one can claim later on down the road that they didn’t know they could or couldn’t do something within the home.

Establish Tax Claims

When people live in your house, you can claim them as your dependents, if you are paying for a majority of the bills and they live in your house for more than six months out of the year. Many people wonder: can a grandparent claim a grandchild on taxes?This is a question that many people wonder come tax season.

The truth is, they can if the child lives in their home for six months or more and their parents don’t claim them. You need to get in writing that your child is going to allow you to claim their child on your taxes since you will be the one putting a roof over their head and paying for a good portion of their room and board.

You can talk to an accountant to find out exactly what you need to do in order to claim your grandchild, but it is perfectly legal to do.

Establish a Pet Policy

You need to let your child’s family know where you stand on pets right from the start. If you don’t want to have pets in your home because you are fearful they will damage things or you will end up paying to take care of them, you need to include a pet policy clause within the contract. It needs to be very specific as to what pets are and are not allowed. If you are fine with cats but don’t want a dog, you need to specify it.

Once you have the contract written out, take the paperwork to a notary to have it notarized. Both you and your child need to be present with identification in order to have the document notarized. You cannot sign it until you are both in front of the notary because he or she has to physically see you sign it.

Once it’s signed, keep it in a safe place so that you can get ahold of it if you need it. Many people choose to keep their contracts in a safe or safety deposit box so that they cannot be stolen or destroyed. 

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