WASHINGTON — That 30-year-old man who had to be forced by a judge to vacate his parents' home has finally packed his bags and left.
Mark and Christina Rotondo wanted their unemployed adult son to move out. They said they were fed up with his not contributing to the household. But their son, Michael, refused to go, so the couple filed a petition in the New York State Supreme Court to have him evicted.
Without knowing more about this family's dynamics, we can't really say how the situation ended up in court. But maybe the acrimony could have been avoided had the parents more clearly communicated — in writing — what they expected from their son.
Kristy, a reader from Indiana, found a "Welcome Home Contract" online from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. A year ago, she and her husband tailored the document to dictate the rules under their roof when their 18-year-old son decided he wasn't going to college after he graduated from high school.
The covenant between the couple and their son says he has to get a job (he did). There's also a curfew and quiet hours.
"We added the bit about quiet hours because my husband has to be up early in the morning," she said.
If you want to avoid a costly court date with your adult child, go to insureuonline.org and search for "Welcome Home Contract." The first listing will be a fill-in-the-blanks PDF form, and the second is an interactive version of the contract.
I asked Kristy to share the specifics of their contract. I've made some edits for clarification.
Effective: (Put the date here.)
This covenant is between X, hereafter known as "adult child," and Y, hereafter known as "parents."
This covenant is entered into on the basis that (name of adult child) is not attending college part time or full time.
Logistics: Adult child may inhabit his current bedroom, or other room, as designated by parents. Adult child will park vehicle in manner so as not to take up more space than needed in driveway.
Adult child will take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the residence/residents, such as locking doors at night/upon leaving premises, and keeping security codes confidential.
This covenant will be reviewed twice a year.
Finances: (Put the dollar amount here) is expected monthly for room and board, which covers reasonable living expenses, groceries and utilities.
If still eligible for coverage under parents' health insurance, adult child will pay for out-of-pocket costs associated with doctors' appointments, emergency room visits, medication, etc.
If not eligible for coverage under parents' health insurance, adult child will secure his own health insurance and pay 100 percent of the premiums.
Adult child will pay for his expenses for clothing, toiletries and other personal items.
Adult child will pay for his gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance and registration costs. Adult child will pay his auto insurance and stay current on all payments.
Mutual respect: Adult child will assist with household chores as requested, and as need arises by parents, as well as snow removal and some house maintenance.
Adult child will keep his room clean, be responsible for cleaning the bathroom/laundry room he regularly uses and cleaning up after self when using common areas such as the kitchen.
Overnight guests are not allowed unless cleared with parents in advance.
We respectfully ask that you provide your work schedule. Please respect our quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Friday.
We request that you keep reasonable hours, home before 10 p.m. weeknights and before 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
If you have visitors in the common areas of the home — kitchen, great room, living room — we ask that visitors leave before 10 p.m.
When going out with friends, we ask that you provide their contact information, in the event of an emergency. We ask that you provide an estimated time of return.
Should adult child not return home at night, a text message should be sent to parent by 11 p.m. so as not to cause undo worry or stress or for adult child to be reported as missing person.Comment on this story
Adult child is requested to prepare one evening meal a week. Adult child will be responsible for own laundry. Adult child will not abuse alcohol or drugs. Since you have the good fortune of living here with a nominal fee, please respect your housemates, aka your parents.
I love the clarity in this covenant, especially who pays for what. It might not prevent all conflicts, but it certainly puts everyone on the same page. And, a year later, Kristy said there haven't been any issues with their son living at home. (He doesn't mind the curfew.)
Use the commission's cohabitation contract to help facilitate a much-needed conversation about expectations in a shared housing arrangement. It could save you a lot of money and heartache.