Should I stay?

Hopefully others will weigh on this…I would think that moving out will weaken your position if this moves forward to true separation/divorce/ custody issues. You may want to get some things in writing and call it a “trial separation”…like:
-will you have access to your house
-will you be able to see and spend time with your child
-how will bills be paid
-how long will this separation last
Why not go through counseling while still living at home? The fact that she is threatening with you with attorneys and legal action does not seem very promising.

My advice is clearly not of a legal nature but is borne a little bit from experience.

I would not leave the house - it belongs to the both of you and if you are not the one seeking separation, you definitely should not be the one doing the effort (ie: moving out of the house) to do so!

If your wife wants to separate, let her separate. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t stay in the house, sleep in your bed, and continue to take care of your child.

The court system cannot – remember, this is not legal advice! – in my opinion, force you out of your home unless there is some sort abuse or neglect.

My advice equally applies to men or women, but you specifically might enjoy reading “No More Mr. Nice Guy” ( which is all about asserting your own rights and wants in life (it’s not a divorce book).

Good luck,

Thanks for the advice so far…

a bit more detail might be helpful:
My wife has just wrapped up 2+ years of Nursing School, during which time she did not work (or worked very little). Her parents have helped to support us since we moved here for her to go to school, we lived with them for 2 years and have been living in a small rental house that they have paid for since Dec. '06. My work, and thus financial capability, has been spotty since we moved down here for her to attend school. However, I have had steady, full time employment since Feb. and could begin to pay some (not all) of our rent. I have been paying for child care (80% of the time) since Nov. 05, as well as living expenses. Given the reality of our situation my wife finds it laughable and proposterous, that she be the one to leave (stating that her parents would never pay for me to live in the house if she weren’t there).

The situation could get ugly quick as she has reapeatly stated that the only positive thing I can do “for us” at this point is leave the home, which I am reluctant to do.

I am attempting to contact a local attorney and am anxious to hear back from her. All of this is pretty recent news to me so getting over the shock and dealing with the reality of the situation is where I am now.

In spite of the strain and struggle I contintue to love her, and hope that the relationship can recover - not only for the sake of our son, but for ourselves as well. The irony is that since she has revealed her misery and unhappiness we’ve actually had better conversation in the past week than the past 2 years.

Thanks for the responses, I welcome all perspectives.

She can’t make you leave or kick you out unless she files for divorce from bed and board, of which she has to prove the circumstances that would warrant that. That takes time and it would come from the court-not her. I stayed in my marital home for several months while I was working on my separation agreement. I have 2 other friends that did likewise-mainly to avoid abandonment charges and so that they had equal separation of personal property. It may be uncomfortable, but you deserve to stay there too even if the parents are paying rent. They could stop paying rent, then you BOTH would have to move.

Unless you can come to an agreement that works for BOTH of you-not just her, then sit tight, wait for your attorney (which you MUST have)and continue to care for your kids. Good luck!

From my own personal experience, you can not work on a relationship if you are not both in the home. Once one of you move out, the separation begins and then it’s just a matter of time. If you are going to work on your relationship, then both of you stay in the home and work on it. If you are going to begin new lives apart from each other then one of you should leave.
Since her parents are paying your rent, it may be a better option for you to find a place separate. Since you are employed steadily now, it may be that she is entitled to alimony but I’m not sure how that would work since her parents have been supporting both of you up to now.
Get a agreement drawn up on splitting up furniture and child support, and custody. Do this to protect yourself and your child.
If you sincerely want your marriage to work, then there are options. But, in my opinion, the only things that are worked out while living apart are who gets what and who’s responsible for what. Keep in mind that it takes both of you wanting the marriage to work before any progress can be made even with counseling. If your wife does not really want the marriage, nothing will work. If she is convinced that you should be living apart, then possibly she’s already made that decision and hasn’t wanted to tell you yet…just a thought.

I would also like to add that I do agree with the other poster about her being the one to leave since she is the one wanting to separate, but that would mean that YOU would need to start paying the rent. It would just be easier for you to leave since her parents have been paying. If you do not feel you should leave then you need to make arrangements now about how you will pay. If you do not feel that she should have primary custody then what the others said is usually true. Whoever has primary physical custody at the time of the court proceedings is the one that usually retains custody. Basically, if you have worked out primary custody and have had visitations and all in place for several months then the courts are going to want to know why it should change after any period of time. It’s more difficult to get custody after you give it up. In the agreement, have it read that you have joint physical and legal custody with equal time. This is the most desirable situation for the children and one that the courts will look at more favorably.

Thanks ya’ll for the information and helpful opinions - I really appreciate the input and getting perspectives from others certainly helps. At this time we are still “living” together, however she has spent 4 of the last 5 nights away from the home. Some of these have been to avoid conflict, or having to face the failed state that our relationship is in right now. We are trying hard to respect one another, but our defensive/protective behaviors are having a negative affect on the other party (this is a two way street) even when that is not the primary intention.

I could get a seperation agreement worked out with joint custody and no alimony, but in light of what stepmother says I don’t feel like moving out will help us resolve our issues and give the relationship the honest (and fair) shake at resolution/repair that I feel it deserves - however my wife might be well beyond this point already and just not really telling me in hopes that I’ll just leave and make things easier for her…ugh

Please keep the comments coming.
Thanks for your input on this case

I cannot tell you if you should move out from an emotional prospective. That is a decision only you can make.

From a legal prospective, if you move out you are not waiving your rights to one half the marital estate. You would be beginning the one year separation period required to file for divorce.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

…my wife is miserable in our relationship and says we must live apart while we try to “work things out” via counseling, she wants me to leave the home. I want for us to try and make the marriage work, I want to honor the commit we have made to each other, our families and our community, and for the sake of our 3 year old child.

From what I understand my staying in the home prevents the one year separation clock from starting, and were I to leave the home that clock would start ticking.

She has told me that if I will not leave then we will have to involve attorneys - and that I’ll just cause greater harm by not leaving now on my own.

I have told my wife that I will do whatever is necessary to salvage our relationship and marriage. However I do not want to jeopardize my rights or the status of our marriage.

What are my rights and my options at this junction?

Help is appreciated.