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Legal recourse to refusing stepson moving back in?

Toxic Situation's picture

As my stepson, now 17 is growing older and soon to attend college, my thoughts on things have changed from only thinking about the need to disengage and other such ideas.

What is on my mind now is, after he is gone, DW wants to buy a house (we have an apartment now). I would say that there is a strong possibility the SS would be allowed to move back in. There are many reasons, among them, he gets a free ride from his mother and he may have trouble making friends or holding a job due to his dysfunctional personality - however DW has always given him center stage in the home, and that includes accepting, allowing and enabling his bad behavior. So, from his point of view, why not move back home? And my wife most certainly would let him return. (Even though she says now that he cannot. This will go the way of all her resolutions regarding him and will last about as long as chore lists and rule charts, about five days.)

So, my question is, has anyone here ever entered into a home purchase and dealt with this subject? For instance is there some legal agreement I can make (and do we both have to sign it) which prohibits his moving in with us and is it enforceable?

At this point, if DW will not agree to something like this, I would never agree to buy a house together. (He could still move back into an apartment, but it is easier to walk away from an apartment than a mortgage.)

I know that any advice you give is not legal advice, and that at some point, I will need to speak to a lawyer, but I want to at least talk about the issues beforehand so I can begin to put together some ideas.

notsobad's picture


I highly doubt there is an agreement like what you’re looking for that could be enforced.

If your wife won’t stand by you and a decision the two of you have made together what makes you think she’ll adhere to a legal agreement? Who would enforce it? Are you hoping that if she let SS move in you’d be able to call the police to have him removed?

You have to stand up to your wife and her son. You and you alone, without a legal agreement to shove in her face when she lets you down. You obviously already know what’s going to happen if you buy a house, so just stay where you are. 

notasm3's picture

It all depends on your locality.  My DH and I do not live in a community property state although I spent most of my adult life living in community property states.

Our home is really "my" home.  I am the only one on the deed and the mortgage.  Which is why I am totally confident in banning SS33 from my home.  POS SS the ahole is not to ever even step foot in my home.

Kes's picture

I agree with notsobad, you need to be able to say that you do not want this to happen, and I think it is very unlikely you could get a legal document to enforce it, unless you have a restraining order against someone, for instance, because of past bad behaviour.  

One of the reasons I am hesitant about moving to a larger house, from our current one, is the possibility that one of DH's daughters might push to move in with us at some point, as they have in the past, but I am able to say we don't have room.  When you own a house jointly, it is harder to refuse a partner's wishes in this matter.  If it were your house only, you'd have the high ground. 

Rags's picture

You can buy in a community that does not allow families with underage children to reside in the home beyond a fixed visitation time. 

There are some communities that limit residents of any home in the community to a single  adult couple (I am not sure if there are any that are not specifically focused on 55+ owners). Anyone visiting must be registered and has a limited horizon that they can stay. In those communities the neighbors are the enforcers.  Someone will always make a call to the HOA if anything is out of order.  I rented a place in one of these communities in Florida a number of years ago. I was working on a short term assignment and my wife and the Skid were at our usual home several states to the West. 

It was a blast living there.  The place belonged to the father of a former colleague which is how I learned about the property.   I was in my early 40s at the time and I had the caserole squad of single older leadies bringing me amazing food just about every night.  My place ended up being the food and wine hang out. I few months after moving in I added a room mate who I worked with and to this day (a decade+ later) when we talk we crack up over the great time we had on that assignment.  Nothing untoward ever happened.  The ladies just liked being treated politely by younger men.  They spent a lot of time picking my brain on whether or not my dad, uncles, or close retirement age friends were single.  Our  wifes give us crap about that to this day.  And except for the grounds keeping contractors... there was not anyone under their 50s (except for my room mate and I) in sight.

Not sure about a legal agreement... but .... focus on communities that give you the best structure for reaching  your goal of no kid in residence.  If you buy a place where that can't happen... you pull  your DW's teeth on the issue.

futurobrillante99's picture

Do not buy a house with her. Either she buys a house she can afford alone, allowing you to leave if she moves SS in, OR you buy a house YOU can afford alone so you can kick both their asses out when she moves him in.

Better yet, rent a house with only your name on the lease until the SS is fully launched. Just tell her that you're not willing to buy a house with her until you see evidence that YOUR needs as her husband take precedence over her need to enable her son.

futurobrillante99's picture

You wouldn't happen to have a brother as nice as you are in the DC area, by any chance, that's single? Smile

Rags's picture

I have only one surviving brother.  Both of us are married 23+ years. Mom and dad will have their 56th this year. So unfortunately I have no available brothers for you.

However, I do have a couple of friends I would recommend for consideration. Though not in the DC area.

futurobrillante99's picture

I've got unfinished business to wrap up before I entertain risking my heart again. Who knows where life leads. Might be willing to travel. LOL

Must not be narcissists or have mommy issues, to start with. I've learned my lesson.

Toxic Situation's picture

Thank you for all your comments. There is much good advice. It helped me to see the situation more clearly.