! Any Tips Secrets When Asking Husband to Leave?

Updated on September 17, 2015
M.S. asks from Troutdale, OR
12 answers

I have finally had enough, and have decided to ask my husband to leave until he works on himself and gets better. He is mentally ill, throws fits, implies violence by throwing things in another room so we can't see, but can hear. Anyway, things finally came to a head, and even with family counseling (we have 2 kids with Sensory Processing Disorder and our son also has Autism) it is not getting better.

I am the primary worker because he can't hold down a job. But, he also can't keep our house clean and safe and I am terrified of losing the kids to CPS. I am a mandatory reporter and almost feel like I should call myself; how sad is that? Whenever I try to do something he comes up with a way to stop progress so that we can "work together". So, nothing gets done. Over and over again.

Anyway, I am not able to work full time because he can't manage to make appointments, keep them straight, and take the kids to them. He can do OT and Speech, but OT twice a week is too much for him to take them. It is about 30 minutes away with good traffic. He absolutely cannot drive to the eye therapist because it is too far and too stressful. (Obviously hubby has a lot of mental problems.) If he isn't here then we will be able to get daycare help from the state and social security, which I actually think will be a whole lot healthier for our son. Daughter is in kindergarten from 7:45 to 3:30. But DS is only at preschool until 11:30. It is a specialized autism preschool.

Sorry for the long post. Anyway, I have made an appointment with the family counselor for Friday to tell him in a safe place with a mediator that I feel he is to volatile to be around the kids and I don't feel they are safe emotionally. He can be a really good husband and dad, but it is cyclical and I am so tired of the cycles; they run from 6-9 weeks, for the last 10 years. My mom will have the kids so that I don't have to worry about them during this time and conversation.

What are some things I need to make sure are established in this conversation? what needs to be written down? what should I be prepared for? I don't know if I need to file a legal separation or not. I do know that I need to see him in control and doing well by himself for at least a year before I will be able to let him come back. I really do love him, and he loves me, and the kids, but he isn't healthy to be around, and refuses to do any work on himself, just me and the kids.

FYI I already attend therapy for myself 1x a week. I do suffer from depression as well, but I take meds, and life doesn't give me time to have a breakdown even if I wanted to. I am hoping this will actually drop my stress level to a manageable level.

Thank you all for your wisdom and experiences. This is new to me and certainly not where I saw my life going, but I have to protect my kids and myself. I need off this rollercoaster.

ETA: Thank you for your responses To clarify, my parents gave us the mobile home we live in, and while his name is on it, he has always said it is mine and the kids', so I didn't expect that to change. Thanks for the heads up. Also, we can't leave because the kids have school, and my parents live over an hour and a half away. I would have to get up at 5 to get them to school at 7:30 and they are not morning kids. My mom will have the kids for the day or longer, so they won't be in any danger. The fear factor is why I am doing it in a therapy session with the family counselor. I will be taking my own car, which is in my parent's name because they gave it to me and my dad forgot to sign the title. Lol.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for your help and suggestions. I hadn't really thought about him coming back. He can leave and go to his parent's homes, but they are about 4 hours away. It was actually where he was going when his truck key broke on Tuesday night. I wanted to clarify that both of our names are on the title of the mobile home, so I have as much claim to it as he does. We don't have any credit accounts or cards together and only debts are normal bills beside student loans. But, we do have a joint bank account and online access, so I think I will open my own account as well, and have it be accessed differently. He does not get social security, our son does, and I am the controller on the account thankfully. But, again, it goes to the joint account....so I will need to get that changed. I think maybe I will hold off and get some more information in line. I can go to my parents afterwards, and plan to do so, but I hadn't thought to stay the night. Thanks for that. I will call a shelter or two and figure out what I need to have in place. Thank you so much ladies! If you have ideas and suggestions, especially after this, please keep them coming~ I don't want to be caught where I can't do what I need to do to protect my family.

More Answers



answers from Portland on

M., I'm sorry it's come to this but it sounds like you are giving him an opportunity to make the choice to take the relationships seriously and do some personal work.

That said, I'm concerned for your safety and the safety of the children. He may have a very strong reaction. It would be a good idea to have a friend watch the kids at their house while you talk to him. It would also be a good idea to have a safety plan for yourself. I can't tell you exactly what to do, and if it were me in this situation, here are some of the resources I would look into:

This is in Washington County

This is an index with links to

Even if he isn't hitting you physically, this is still a violent and disturbing situation. It's good you are getting your kids out. Please consider your financial situation as well. Be prepared that he may try to hurt you financially by blowing through what money you have earned.

I know you are ready to lay it on the line, just take a moment to make sure that you have your own backup plan ready and key supports in place. I wish peace for your family.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I'm sorry you have to go through this, but it sounds like you're a strong advocate for your kids.

There's only one thing I can think of to add. My situation is not the exact same as yours, but I have a daughter with very serious medical disorders, and she has anxiety and depression and panic disorders as well. She has at times threatened to harm herself out of pure desperation, and she has actually done it once, and this past June she was in a very dangerous place (mentally, not physically. I mean - she was home with me but in a very dangerous state of mind). We had an appointment with her psychiatrist but I needed her psychiatrist to be aware of what my daughter was saying to me.

So I called the psychiatrist's office a day before the appointment and spoke with someone in her office. I told the staff person that I needed to deliver an urgent message to the psychiatrist in advance of the appointment. The message detailed what was going on, what my daughter was saying, and how I was feeling. I knew that my daughter would not divulge everything to the doctor. And I didn't want to betray my daughter, but I needed help and I needed to confide in the doctor for my daughter's protection. By giving the doctor advance information prior to the meeting, she was able to ask pointed questions of my daughter and really help my daughter (and me).

It's sometimes hard, in the appointment, to say how difficult things are, and how much danger you're in. But if the therapist knows how volatile the situation is beforehand, he or she can make informed decisions and be proactive, for your protection. The therapist will be armed with an action plan and realize how serious this scenario is.

I'm glad I made that call. The staff member with whom I spoke told me that others have called in similar situations, and that it's good for the doctor to know in advance about situations where there is a threat of danger. It's one thing to show up for a routine appointment and just talk with the doctor off the cuff, but quite another to come to an appointment where you plan such a drastic, but vital, change.

I wish you and your children all the best, and I hope that your husband gets the help that he needs.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

M., sending you big hugs. My situation is similar to yours, except that my kids are either neuro-typical or only have mild LDs and manageable ADHD, so I don't have the added stress of young kids needing services. I can only imagine how stressful this is for you.

My husband just moved out over the weekend. Like yours, mine has a long history of mental health issues but fortunately, he has always been able to work (albeit in a job where he vastly under-earns what someone with his education and experience should earn). Like you, we have done years of counseling.

In preparing for this, I read this great book:

Even with divorce not on the table right now as your primary goal, it has good info about preparing yourself and your children logistically and emotionally for this transition. It gives very practical advice and describes the predictable phases that you and he will go through. There will be some variation due to his mental health issues, your depression and your kids' needs but it is helpful to understand that ambivalence, anger, guilt, etc. are normal and to be expected.

My husband's initial reaction to my request that he move out was that he would when his name was off the deed of the house and until I was able to re-fi him off the mortgage (impossible because we are upside-down), he wasn't going anywhere. From a legal perspective, I had no recourse. You can't force someone out of his own home. So if he owns your home with you, be prepared for the fact that he might refuse to go and unless you're willing to leave, there may be nothing you can do about it.

What got him to change his mind was hearing our kids describe our home in therapy. They all expressed unhappiness, described our home as tense and angry, identified him specifically as the cause of tension and the one who needed to change, and my step-daughter actually moved to her friend's house this summer and refused to come home. Hearing this prompted my husband to act and make steps to move out. Honestly I'm financially screwed now and will probably lose my home, but I can tell you that right now, it's nice to not have his miserable black cloud in my house all the time.

If you haven't done so already, ask divorced friends for recommendations on attorneys and make appointments with a few of them. Most will do a free consultation. Even if the object is reunification, it's good to know what the law is for your case in terms of temporary support, whether or not your state recognizes legal separation (mine doesn't), etc. If he doesn't work, he should have some source of income from disability and should be able to use that to support himself and pay child support to you. Otherwise, you're going to have to figure out how he's supposed to pay for a separate place and contribute to your family's finances. Being disabled doesn't relieve him of his obligation to provide support to his children, and your eligibility for services for your kids (childcare, transportation to therapies) might be dependent on his participation in your family's finances (i.e. they would expect him to pay something first before any additional benefits to your kids would kick in). You may also need to show that you're on the path to divorce before you qualify for additional benefits for your children. It's a complex legal and social services area and I don't pretend to understand all the ins and outs, but that's something you should look into.

If I were you, I'd try to get answers to some of your legal questions before you tell him. If you can't, at least line up some appointments and let him know during this conversation that you will be seeking legal advice to ensure social security will be available and know what you need to file for a legal separation (if anything) so that he understands how serious you are.

Best wishes to you, and take care of yourself as you go through this!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Darling girl. I just want to hug you. You are me 2 1/2 years ago.

I can't tell you what you should do. The only thing that worked for me was leaving. It wasn't the easiest solution for me, and it wasn't the fair solution but it was the ONLY one in the end, because he would not leave. Thank God I had a soft place to land (my mom's). I also had only 1 child and a good full time job. I honestly don't know what to tell you - the ladies have given some good advice and I am so certain you will figure it out and land on your feet in the end. Just wanted to send some support and hugest of cyber hugs. Hang in there! You're absolutely doing the right thing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Never been in that space so, I have no advise. Just words of encouragement. Stand tall and be strong. There is a reason you have made this choice. Change is not easy but it sounds like the best and healthiest option for you and your kids! Good luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I went through this. I guess it would be helpful to you before you meet with him to have a place figured out where HE could go. It will be very hard to get him out of the house without a job and no place to go.

When I met with my now ex, I said he needed to leave right then and there, knowing that he could go to his parents house until he got a place of his own. He did go stay with them, but then came back and slept in the guest room for a couple days until he got an apartment. But I was done. There was no separation and I immediately filed for divorce. Good for you trying everything first to save the marriage. I did too but he didn't want to make an effort so I was done. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Sending you lots of support and kudos for making this step.

You have done a good job of being safe for the hour of your appointment and for the ride home, but then what? This sounds very volatile - what will protect you after you get home?

I think you need a much better plan than what you have detailed here. Where do you plan on your husband going after the therapy appointment? He says the mobile home is yours, but how do you know he will stick to that viewpoint after you upset him? Is your position legally defensible?

What are you doing to protect assets, both in the home and in the bank? What about getting your name off credit cards or protecting funds in the bank?

I think you may need to postpone this until you get your ducks in a row. The most violent time in an abusive situation is when the victim tries to break things off. If your husband is mentally ill and given to explosive outbursts, what assurances do you have that he will take this so nicely with the therapist there and not be infuriated afterwards? He's not rational, so you can't apply rational standards to your plan.

Please take additional precautions and do not be alone in your home. If he has firearms, arrange to secure them or turn them in to the police. Have a code word for calling for help, and give the police a head's up (there are code words or numbers to punch in to your phone if you are on with 911).

Good luck and much strength to you!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It's smart to do the asking in front of someone else as you plan, but you absolutely must ensure that you have your bank accounts and credit cards all arranged so he cannot cut you off or drain them suddenly and leave you and your children with nothing, or with vast credit card bills that he runs up out of revenge. I would not do the you need to leave talk until you have gotten out of any joint cards or accounts somehow.

Women's shelters and what are called "women's centers" (search online under women's center, in your geographic area) often can provide a lot of advice on issues such as how to prepare yourself for a breakup with a volatile person. You need not only therapy/counseling kinds of preparation but that kind of financial preparation first, and if he's this volatile, I would go on the assumption that he easily could take revenge on you by clearing out accounts etc. immediately if he thinks you're leaving or asking him to leave.

You mention that you "didn't expect (your housing) to change" but again, if it's only in his name, you could end up on the street or at your parents'. Please get advice on housing too. A court might give you the trailer eventually, considering there are two young children with special needs living there with you, but right now -- he owns it, not you. The fact he has "always said" it's yours and the kids' means nothing.

Have you really considered what happens if you ask him to leave and he just refuses? If he says, "No, if you want to leave, go, and take the kids but don't expect to sleep here"? Or if he says, "Fine, but you leave, not me, and the kids stay with me"? If he fights you for custody of children whom you feel he is utterly unable to handle or help, what will you do? Can you afford a good and experienced attorney to keep the kids out of his hands? Do you have evidence of missed appointments where he failed to take the kids, or missed school because he failed to get them there, or other evidence you can use to show his unfitness?

Sadly, you will need to be prepared for the worst possible scenario when you ask him to leave -- as in, he locks you out of the trailer, or he takes the kids either legally or not, or he gets violent -- so you need to be ready for that by having your own money, not sharing credit with him, and most of all having a safe location you AND the kids go to immediately after you meet with him to tell him it's all over. You cannot expect to tell an unstable person "I need you to leave" and then go home and spend that night under the same roof with him, or have your kids under the same roof with him. If he will not leave immediately you must have a place ready to receive you and your bags should be packed and in your car already when you speak to him. (And if you did go home, are you ready to change the locks on the trailer that same day, in case he does leave but decides a hour or a day later to come back and walk in?)

You're in a dangerous situation. Get detailed advice from a shelter or women's center before you do anything, and also ask those places if they can direct you to a lawyer who works with women in your situation for low cost or for sliding scale fees.

Please update us here!

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answers from Appleton on

Is he on medication? It sounds as though his medication has stopped working. This happens with the mentally ill. I am not saying you should stay with him, I am saying he needs a check-up with his doctor.

About asking him to leave... Just tell him. Be completely honest with him and tell him you can no longer handle his violent outbursts. He needs to get his medication adjusted and get into counseling. He should have no problem dealing with the day to day responsibilities of parenthood and being an adult with the right medication. To me this is an excuse. He is a dad he needs to be able to step up and take care of his children's needs.

I have dealt with the mentally ill, it's like having another child. You have to constantly monitor their medication and behavior. You can never completely trust they will take their medication, sometimes they just feel better and stop taking the medicine. No matter where you go from here divorce or take him back he will always need monitoring. Do you want this for the rest of your life?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sorry to be so direct but get ahold of all financial records, copy what you need to and take 50 % of savings and put in your own account.

Get your own credit card and get off any joint ones.

Stay strong and keep taking care of yourself.

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answers from Miami on

Have you called the police when he has thrown things? If you haven't, that is a big mistake. You need to have his behavior and his mental illness documented. I assure you that he will bring up that you have depression, take medication, go to a therapist, etc. All of a sudden, YOU'LL be under the looking glass and he'll be trying to take the trailer, the kids, spousal support and child support. And you'll be a deer in the headlights wondering what the heck happened. All because you didn't call the police and file reports to document HIS behavior.

Before you do ANYTHING, talk to a lawyer. You had better have all your ducks in a row. You DO know that you will end up having to pay him spousal support, right? I don't know how long you've been married, but it will depend on that. Before you keep staying with him because you think you can't afford that, there is an end to spousal support and the last thing you should do is stay with him because you can't afford to leave.

Your lawyer will probably tell you to call the police and ask them to come to the house when you tell him you want a separation. What I don't know is if they can tell him to leave. I don't think that they can. You need to discuss this with your lawyer. You cannot just assume that because he has said the place is yours and the kids that he will stick with that. Faced with being told to leave, he could just say forget that. And then what will you do? You have to have a backup plan.

Make sure that you delete any computer history that shows what sites you are researching so that he doesn't know what you're planning, btw.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Don't ask him to leave. Pack up your kids and go.

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