The age of majority is usually 18, except for some jurisdictions. At 18, you are legally an adult, meaning your parents can stop offering their support since you have the right to make decisions regarding your education, housing, health care, etc.
Your parents are no longer your legal guardians and, in many cases, aren’t required to provide you with financial and emotional support. However, you may ask, “Can my parents force me out at 18?”
In this article, we focus on understanding your rights and options:
1. Legal Rights at 18: Can Parents Force You Out?
In many countries, the legal age of majority is 18, meaning that individuals are considered adults and have the legal right to make their own decisions. However, whether your parents can “force” you out can depend on various factors, including local laws and the specific circumstances involved.
Here are some key points to consider:
Age of Majority: At 18, many individuals are legally considered adults, which means they have the right to make decisions about their living arrangements, education, and other aspects of their lives.
Parental Responsibilities: According to the law, parents have a legal duty to provide for the well-being of their children by providing food, shelter, and financial support until they reach the age of majority. However, in some states, even though parents can ask their 18-year-old to leave home, they may still have to provide child support for a few more years if they cannot support themselves. One good example is New York, where young adults can continue receiving financial support until they turn 21.
Eviction Laws: Some regions have laws that specify the process for evicting someone from a residence, even if they are a family member. Depending on the state, the ruling will depend on how the law determines the landlord-tenant relationship – is the person a tenant, guest, lodger, squatter, or trespasser? These laws generally require notice and legal proceedings.
Financial Support: If parents financially support their 18-year-old child, they may be able to set specific conditions for that support, such as requiring the child to follow house rules or contribute to household expenses.
Exceptional Circumstances: There may be exceptions to the age of majority in some instances, such as if the 18-year-old has special needs, disabilities, or other circumstances that require continued parental support.
Local Laws: This issue’s specific laws and regulations can vary widely by jurisdiction. For example, the age of majority is 19 in Alabama and Nebraska and 21 in Mississippi. Therefore, local laws determine each situation.
Ultimately, whether your parents can legally “force” you to leave home at 18 will depend on your legal rights in your location. Parents may encourage their child to become more independent at 18, but this is typically a matter of personal dynamics and not a strict legal requirement. Read more about your legal rights at 18 on Father Resource.
2. Understanding Parental Rights: Your Options at 18
When you turn 18, you typically gain various legal rights and responsibilities as an adult. Understanding these rights and options is essential, especially concerning your relationship with your parents. Here are some key aspects to consider:
- Autonomy: At 18, you have the legal right to make decisions about your life, including where you live, your education, healthcare, and other personal matters.
- Financial Independence: You can open bank accounts, obtain credit, and make financial decisions without your parents’ consent.
- Legal Contracts: You can enter into legal contracts, which include leases, loans, and more.
- Voting and Jury Duty: You gain the right to vote in elections and may be eligible for jury duty.
- Legal Assistance: You can seek legal advice and representation if you encounter legal issues or disputes with your parents.
Your parents cannot legally stop you from leaving home and choosing where you want to live. However, they can also decide that they want you to contribute to the household expenses or that you must find your place.
While parents may choose to continue to provide financial support, in most states, they are no longer legally obligated to do so once you reach the age of majority or after you finish high school. The law can extend financial assistance for longer in cases where adult children have a mental or physical disability. In most cases, financial support from parents is generally a matter of personal agreement.
At 18, you can decide about your education, including choosing your major and continuing higher education.
You can make medical decisions, including consenting to or refusing medical treatment. You can also choose your healthcare providers.
When you turn 18, you can enter employment contracts without parental consent.
With these new rights come responsibilities. You are responsible for your actions, including financial decisions and legal obligations.
Communicating openly and clearly with your parents as you transition into adulthood is important to ensure a smooth and healthy relationship. If you’re facing challenging family dynamics, consider seeking guidance from a family counselor, therapist, or mediator to help navigate these changes. It’s also a good idea to consult with a legal professional for advice on specific legal matters that may arise. Your specific rights and options may vary based on the laws in your jurisdiction.
3. Navigating the Transition: Leaving Home at 18
Leaving home at 18 and transitioning to independent living can be exciting and challenging. Here are some steps and tips to help you navigate this transition successfully:
- Create a budget by listing expected monthly expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and other essentials.
- Open a bank account if you don’t already have one. Learn about managing your finances, including saving and investing.
- Build an emergency fund to cover you financially during unexpected setbacks.
- Secure a stable place to live, like renting an apartment, living in a dorm, or sharing a house with roommates.
- Understand rental or lease agreements, including your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
Education and Career
- Consider if you want to pursue a higher education or vocational training.
- If you do, explore your options for paying for your studies. These include scholarships and student financial aid opportunities.
- Start or continue your career path by seeking internships or part-time jobs related to your interests.
- Understand your health insurance coverage, whether through your parents, workplace, or government programs.
- Decide on your primary healthcare provider.
- Prioritize self-care, including your mental and physical health, by eating balanced meals and exercising regularly.
- Seek help or counseling if you experience emotional or mental health challenges during the transition.
- Ensure all your identification and legal documents are current: your ID, passport, and any necessary licenses or permits.
- Consider creating a will and designating a power of attorney if needed.
- Know your legal responsibilities and rights as an adult by reading up or asking a legal professional.
Social and Emotional Support
- Maintain communication with family and friends for emotional support.
- Build new social connections by joining clubs or participating in activities you enjoy.
- If you were unprepared to leave home, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Ask friends, family, or an organization willing to provide shelter, food, and financial support until you are ready to leave alone. Find which organizations and government welfare programs can support you in this informative blog from Adultingsmart.
- Arrange for transportation, whether owning a vehicle, using public transportation, or ridesharing services.
Leaving home at 18 is a significant step toward independence. It’s essential to have a well-thought-out plan and to understand the responsibilities and opportunities that come with it. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice when needed. Remember that leaving home is a journey of growth and self-discovery that requires patience.
4. Exploring the Legality: Can Parents Evict You at 18?
Parents are legally obligated to meet your needs until you are of legal age or while completing school. After that, they can ask you to leave home. However, can parents evict you at 18 if you refuse to leave?
They can, even though a child’s eviction is trickier than between unrelated parties. Here’s what you need to know if they have asked you to leave home and you refuse:
- Your parents can legally evict you without notice if there is no lease or documented agreement to pay rent based on your state’s landlord-tenant laws. These laws determine your legal rights. In some states, they can demand immediate possession of the premises. However, most states require ample notice.
- If you still refuse to leave, your parents cannot forcefully throw you out because you can open an assault case against them.
- Their following action is to start an eviction case in court against you. They file for the court case, after which you get served with an eviction complaint and a summons. You take these to court and ask for a trial in which you can try and avoid eviction by proving your right to live in your parental home or a problem with the eviction procedure they followed.
- If you cannot prove your right to stay at home as a co- or sub-tenant, the court will issue an eviction order allowing the sheriff to remove you and your belongings from your parental home.
- If you try to return, your parents can request your arrest since you are trespassing on their property.
It isn’t easy for a parent to evict their child, and forceful evictions can irrecoverably damage relationships. Most parents prefer to give their young adult offspring ample notice to ensure they have the chance to develop a plan for moving out. However, some situations are more complex, making generalizations more difficult. Communication and understanding can lead to productive resolutions, but seeking legal advice can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities if these don’t work.