You’ve heard it time and time again, a man’s wife has filed for divorce and now wants him to move out of the family home. I’m willing to bet that if you were to ask several men what happened immediately following their wife filing for divorce, I’m sure they would agree with my statement. Why is this? Why is it so many wives feel that as the “Petitioner,” somehow, they have the upper hand, therefore, making demands their husband should leave?

Just recently, one of my clients arrived home from his out-of-state commute for their family business, and his wife informed him she had filed for divorce. Besides being blindsided by the news, he was then “informed” he needs to leave since this was going to be too difficult to manage while living under the same roof!  She proceeded to give him a deadline of one week, to secure housing since her excuse was that he was earning more money, therefore, was in a better position to find a rental.

Let’s think about this for a second; we have a man who commutes out of state to earn a good living to provide for his family; he pays all the bills including her expenses; his wife does work but feels her income should not have to be put to expenses, but rather for herself to keep. His wife expects him to continue paying the bills such as the mortgage and now take on added expenses for a new place to live. What you may think is an isolated experience, I’m here to say this happens to over half my clients! Yep, men are given their marching orders from spouses who not only filed for divorce but feel they have the upper hand to dictate the terms of how this will play out.

Here’s how I advised and guided him:

First, my motto is “if you want the house, stay in the house!” It’s my number one piece of advice to clients. If you feel that you want to bargain for keeping your home in your divorce settlement, then don’t leave! It’s easier for your attorney to argue for you to keep the home (or any items that belong to you) in your possession. It’s more difficult if you move out than to take it away from your spouse and give it back to you. Early temporary possession is easier to become a permanent one.

My second piece of advice was if he packs up and leaves on her demand, he will most likely regret it in the future. First, this sets the tone that she is taking control rather than trying to be amicable and fair. Unfortunately, when a divorce begins with demands, they usually continue throughout the process. I say, stand your ground and not adhere to “demands.” It’s one thing if your spouse would like to have a discussion and try to come up with a fair solution with you, but when you are given orders and deadlines, don’t give in, you’ll regret it if you do.

I have found that many of the spouses who file and then try to exile their husbands are merely bullies. They are convinced if they scare you early on, you’ll go along with their demands. The thing about bullies is that they are usually full of hot air and once you stand up for yourself and they see you cannot be pushed around, you take the wind out of their sails.

Can you guess how things played out for my client? When we did our session, he had already been online looking at places to rent that he could afford even though his attorney informed him that she had no legal grounds to make him leave. After our session, he unpacked his suitcases, moved into the spare bedroom, and decided to stay. His wife had a complete meltdown, but he didn’t allow that tactic to change his mind.

Three weeks later, she moved out and surprisingly began to use her income for her expenses as he had been expected to do for over five years of marriage. Oh, and the best news: he was able to keep the home and pay her for her share in their settlement.  His smile was priceless when he shared the news with me!

Stand up for yourself and don’t be bullied into being exiled from your home!

Hayley Lisa

The Divorce Coach for Men