I see these stories time and time again—adult children acting like spoiled brats and misbehaving in their own parents’ home. Whether it’s not wanting to clean up after themselves or, even worse, a drug addiction that’s going downhill and the child refusing help, the parents are living day in and day out with an unhealthy amount of stress and anxiety.

So you have “the talk” with your child and tell them they will have to find somewhere else to live because you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of them misbehaving. Back in the day, kids would just leave, tired of being nagged by their parents. Nowadays, your child may respond, “I have rights.” Or after you have locked your child out of the house, a police officer might come to your door and say, “You have to let your child back in and get an attorney since they are an occupant of the property.”

You look stunned. My child hasn’t paid a dime in rent, you say, eating up all my food and not taking care of the house. Yet they have rights? You don’t know what to do.

Unfortunately, if your child has stayed at the property for two weeks, 30 days, or three years, and if you have allowed them to stay at your home and live there, even without paying rent, you cannot forcefully remove your child from your home without first going to court and starting an eviction process. If you and your child did not have an agreement to pay rent or have an agreement to the specific terms of the stay, that child has established what we call a “tenancy at will” in your home.

In a tenancy at will, your child can stay in your home for an unspecified period of time without paying any money. The only way to legally start the eviction process on a child with a tenancy at will is to give him or her a 30-day notice to vacate (60-day notice if the child has been in your home more than one year) and wait the 30 or 60 days after you gave notice to allow your child to leave.

If your child refuses to leave your home within the time to vacate, you will have to go to court and start an eviction (known as an “unlawful detainer”) and get a court order to forcefully remove your child from your home. Gone are the days where you could throw your child’s stuff out of the house and tell them to “scram.”

If you are going through this situation right now, you should get legal counsel right away. Taking the wrong type of action such as “encouraging” your child to leave by removing his or her belongings from your home or something similar could lead to a lawsuit, and a court order could allow your child to return to your home. There could also be other penalties. It is very stressful dealing with this type of situation, so get the legal help you need ASAP if you are going through this situation. You will want to end up on the right side of the law.