When you said for better or worse, someone may have forgotten to mention that the worst part could last a long time after you've decided your marriage isn't working. If you want a divorce, there's no rule that says your husband must leave the house. After all, it’s his house too. You have some options if the situation becomes intolerable, however, and using a little common sense might convince him to pack his bags.
Draw the Line
Not all men are comfortable with living alone. Your husband might be reluctant to move out because he's not the domestic sort and the idea of being on his own intimidates him. If he doesn't know where the clothes dryer is and he doesn't know how to turn on the oven, you might have to convince him that he can handle this sort of thing. Stop taking care of these chores for him – because as long you do these chores for him, he has no incentive to leave. If your relationship is still reasonably civil, you can show him the ropes before you pull the rug out from under him, but let him wash and fold his own laundry, and let him make his own meals. This approach can also benefit you for legal reasons. If you end up filing for divorce on no-fault grounds that require a separation, the way you live under the same roof can draw a line between being a married couple and living "apart."
Your husband is probably as unhappy living together as you are, so something is holding him in place. Ask him why he doesn't want to leave. He may have spoken to an attorney who told him not to move out and leave his home and his kids before the two of you have worked out an agreement. Even if he hasn't consulted a lawyer yet, he might naturally worry about seeing his kids only at scheduled times if he moves out, or that he'd be giving up his ownership stake in the home. If the two of you can reach an agreement – and commit it to writing – he might be willing to go. You might have to sweeten the pot a little when you're negotiating, however, such as by offering him unlimited access to the kids.
Ask the Court for Help
If neither of you have actually filed for divorce yet, your husband may think that you're just having problems – your marriage isn't officially over. He may not realize that your mind is made up. If you're absolutely sure you want a divorce, file for one. This may allow you to ask a judge to make your husband move out and give you exclusive possession of the home. Asking doesn't guarantee that the judge will see things your way, however. Generally, you must prove that living together is intolerable and bad for your mental and emotional health, as well as for that of your children.
Issues of Abuse
You might have a friend or an acquaintance who told you that she got her husband out by filing for a restraining order. Don't resort to this unless you honestly think you or your children are in danger because your husband is violent. As a legal ruse to make him move out, it often fails. The court will make him leave for a short period of time – usually a week or two – until a hearing can take place. If the judge decides at the hearing that your husband isn't a threat, he'll let him return home, so at best you've only bought yourself a couple of weeks of peace. If you do feel that you or your children are in danger, however, talk to a lawyer. If you don't have the money for this, call your area's legal aid office. You have a right to be safe, even if your husband refuses to leave on his own.
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.
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