Help Your Kid To Move Out And Stay Out

foundational skills for kids

Chances are, if your child is moving out, you’d like them to move out and stay out. 

Not that you don’t love them, but you’re ready for them to succeed on their own.

This post covers how to know when it’s time for your kid to move out, what essential documents you’ll need to gather for your child, and how to properly handle those documents. Also covered are the additional documents kids in the foster care system and the adults helping them should gather and store.

This post is the first in a multi-part series, covering how to help your child succeed at moving out on their own.

Whether they are headed to college or not, it’s a huge adjustment for all parties involved. The argument could be made that moving off to college is more often a soft transition – with lots of continued help potentially from the parents and school. This article by NYU Child & Adolescent Psychology provides some great tips, in addition to what I’ll be sharing, for helping parents and kids manage the psychological impact of transitioning to college. 

​It used to be common practice to move out after high school, at about 18 or 19 years old. And legally, they aren’t entitled to live with you past 18 years old.

But Time Magazine’s article, Read This Before You Push Your Deadbeat Millennial Out of the House recommends letting your kid stay longer to “help them make the most out of the financial breathing room you’re providing.”

A May 2016 Pew survey indicates that 18-34 year olds are doing just that, “a record 32 percent of young adults live with their parents. For the first time in more than 75 years, living in Motel Mom is the most common kind of living arrangement.”

In fact, according to the Pew survey, living with a parent became the most common young adult living situation in 2016 for the first time on record!

“A record 32 percent of young adults live with their parents. For the first time in more than 75 years, living in Motel Mom is the most common kind of living arrangement.” – May 2016 Pew Survey #finallyfamilyhomes #AHopeandAFuture… Click To Tweet

So how do you know when “it’s time” for your kid to move out?

Empowering Parents’ article, “Failure to Launch, Part 3: Six Steps o Help Your Adult Child Move Out” recommends,

“If you’re in a situation where your adult child is living with you and it’s mutually beneficial – or at the very least mutually respectful – that’s fine.”  

Their article goes on to give some good advice for dealing with a kid who has already overstayed their welcome.

Hopefully, you can come to an amicable resolution, unlike these parents, whose unemployed 30-year-old son refused to leave until they sued to evict him — and won. Although, it may comfort you to know that precedence is on your side.

If having your adult child living with you is not working out or you’ve just decided that it’s the right time for them to spread their wings, you’ll want to set them up for successful independent living. There’s more to this than can easily fit in one blog post, so I will be covering this over a series of posts. This post will cover the first essential step.

Gather their essential documents & teach them how to store them for safe-keeping.

What are the essentials?

  1. Certified copy of their birth certificate
  2. Social Security card
  3. Health insurance information
  4. Medical records
  5. Passport, if they have one
  6. Driver’s license or government-issued identification card*

*IMPORTANT NOTE: While, not required, it is recommended that you get a REAL ID license or id card. Without it, you may find yourself unable to do certain things such as enter a federal facility, board an airplane, or buy firearms or ammunition.

If your driver’s license is up for renewal, you cannot just mail it in if you want the REAL ID. You need to go to the DMV in person with your original birth certificate, original social security card, and proof of State residence.

For more information about getting a REAL ID in California, visit the CA DMV’s REAL ID FAQ.

Beyond the aforementioned basics, there are other documents any young adult should have at the ready.

  1. Educational records
  2. Immunization / Allergy Records
  3. Vehicle registration / ownership papers
  4. Proof of vehicle insurance
  5. Credit reports – Even if they don’t have a credit history, it’s a good idea to run credit reports, to make sure their identity wasn’t stolen. Why not? It’s free.

For youth leaving the foster care system

The American Bar Association recommends providing a young adult exiting the system with the following additional documentation:

  1. Letter including the dates that the youth was within jurisdiction of the court
  2. Letter including a statement that youth was in foster care, in compliance with financial aid documentation requirements
  3. Documentation of the youth’s health insurance or Medicaid
  4. Documentation of a health power of attorney for the youth
  5. Proof of the youth’s citizenship or legal residency
  6. Clear and age appropriate written instructions on filing a petition for the youth to re-enter care, including a completed sample petition  
  7. Clear and age appropriate written instructions on the filing process for accessing their case file
  8. Death certificates of the youth’s parents OR Termination of Parental Rights orders

In addition, the American Bar Association recommends obtaining through a court order if necessary:

  1. The youth’s entire educational records  
  2. The youth’s entire health and mental health records

If you are missing important documents or are having trouble tracking them down, the California Ombudsman for Foster Care website has a list of links to help you track them down.

​​So you’ve gotten the documents together, now how should they be stored?

You may want to consider keeping copies (or the originals) at home in case your kid loses track of them. 

Safewise recommends putting them in a plastic sleeve to protect them from spills then placing them in a safety deposit box or home safe. Otherwise, a locked file cabinet is another good option.

Depending on how you comfortable you are with it, you may also want to consider digital or online storage. The primary advantage of digitizing your personal documents is that it gives you an edge should a fire, flood, or other disaster damage or destroy them. Visit the Leavitt Group for more information on How To Digitize Your Personal Documents.

One final important thing to discuss when talking about essential documents is the proper disposal of any documents containing sensitive information.

Chances are, if your child is moving out, you'd like them to move out and stay out. Not that you don't love them, but you're ready for them to succeed on their own. Check out Finally Family Homes for more information.… Click To Tweet

Safewise writer, Hillary Johnston, also recommends using the shredder, ​”At least once a month, shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, expired credit cards, and utility payments you no longer need. Don’t ever throw out a receipt that came from a transaction you used your credit card with, as your number and/or name is likely on there and criminals can use that to their advantage.”

As it can take a while to obtain any missing vital documents, it is recommended that you start the process of gathering these documents at least several months in advance of the anticipated move out date.

One final thing to consider, maybe it’s a good idea to get your own documents in order while you’re at it. My documentation is this put together. Is yours?

One purpose of this blog is to help parents of teens navigate the challenges of preparing their children to be successful independent adults. The mission of Finally Family Homes is to provide the same kind of support for those teens who don’t have a family or home to help them transition into adulthood.

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  1. Great information to set aside for that day that will… inevitably come.

    1. Thanks!

  2. Great details and information. I wish I had this back when my kids were moving out. It can be such a emotional time that this is very helpful.

    1. I wish I had read it when it was time for me to move out! I knew nothing about managing important documents!

  3. I wish my parents had run my credit before I went to college!y identity had actually been stolen. So much useful information!

    1. OH no! I know, they say you should check on it for all your kids on a regular basis. I haven’t done it for my kids yet though :O

  4. Valuable information. The details are very important.

    1. Glad you found it helpful!

  5. great post our children have moved out years ago but this is definitely a great resource to help parents for sure. Thank you for taking the time to help because as we all know parenting can be a challenge and it doesn’t end when they turn 18.

    1. No it doesn’t! Parenting is lifelong.

  6. Definitely something that I need to save for future reference.

    1. Hope it is helpful!

  7. Thank you, useful information to have to hand

    1. It’s here when you need it 😀

  8. This is a practical post with all the necessary information for having everything in place to move out of the home and into independent living. This is a very helpful list for parents who are newly launching adult children. Even with all the preparation, however, it can still be bumpy sometimes, as things are forgotten. It can also be overwhelming for both parents and kids. Thankfully, after transitioning and growing used to the new arrangements, the new normal kicks in, and everything smooths out by the grace of God.

    1. Thanks Melinda!

  9. I only have a 9 month old so am years from this but will be prepared when it’s time!

    1. Never hurts to start running the baby’s credit reports now – just to make sure no identity gets stolen

  10. I think this is a great topic to teach on your blog. My children left the nest several years ago. But one adult child returned for a couple years after college and paid her college off completely by living rent-free for that period of time. Our other adult child moved in with their spouse after that and paid off much of their debt as well as saved money for a down-payment for a house. They were respectful of our rules, and my husband and I were happy to help them out since our house was big enough. Our children were careful not to be wasteful with the money they were saving, but actually used it to pay their debt down. I realize this could have turned into a nightmare, but we all were considerate of each other and have maintained healthy relationships with our children and their spouses.

    1. That’s so great! It’s wonderful that they had somewhere to land & give themselves a chance to re-launch! A lot of kids don’t have that… like foster kids who age out.

  11. What helpful suggestions. I never considered all of these details, but I can see how helpful it would be to young people who have never taken on the full responsibilities of adulthood before. Thank you for the thoughtfulness in this matter.

    1. You bet! I’m still trying to get my act together – ha!

  12. This is SUCH great info for me! My daughter will be graduating from college this May, and well, it’s time to have the “adulting” talk with her. I have taken notes from your blog, and will most definitely discuss how to store and keep important documents. Thank you SO much for this post!

    1. Perfect timing! So glad to help. I’ve been putting a lot of thought and research into what kids need to be successful on their own as adults – that’s our mission for the foster kids!

  13. Practical and helpful, and I also appreciate the complexities you touch on: it’s not always easy to know when it’s time for your (young) adult child to leave! I love what you’re doing, Christina. I wish I’d had access to this kind of info when I was bouncing around from home to home, and I thank God you’re out there providing it for young people who so desperately need it.

    1. Thanks Peggy!
      I’m thankful for you & your encouragement! 🙂

  14. Super helpful post! I haven’t launched a child yet but this is great!

    1. It’s good to be prepared ahead of time!

  15. What great, practical tips you have! Some of this information is useful for those of us whose kids have left long ago. Fabulous post! God bless!

    1. Glad it’s helpful!

  16. This is really helpful stuff, Christina. We have 1 less than a year in the working world and still living with his college roommates, but soon to be on his own. He’s only got 2 of those documents in his possession, so I have somework to do. Thanks for the list! I bet it’s a big help to those leaving foster care.

    1. It’s especially important for kids in foster care – they have access to a lot of supports – depending on the State, but they need paperwork to get it!

  17. Thank you for suggesting how should I keep my kid out. I like you suggested that parents must empower their kids to be more responsible alone. The kids can also use the money you provide for them to invest in property like family homes for sale.

    1. Definitely we want to empower our young people to be successful & independent on their own!

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