Can she or the courts force me to move out? If she really wants to separate, won't she have to move out of the house if I don't agree to go?
There has been no violence or even threat of violence in the relationship. Her complaint is mostly that I tell her what to do. It's true that when I come home from work and the kids come home from school, I do expect her to cook, clean and pay the bills.
Family Law Attorney
Short answer. If you don't want to go, you don't have to go. But it might be a good idea anyway.
Some folks are afraid that if they move out they have abandoned their spouse and their house, and they will lose some of their legal rights. In NC, moving out is abandonment only if you don't have a good reason. If your spouse insists that you move out, you have not abandoned her.
In some relationships, when wife wants a separation and husband doesn't the possibility of a domestic violence complaint becomes significant. The quickest way to lose many of your important legal rights is for a court to find you are a domestic violence abuser. You are far better off to move out now than to wind up with a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) entered against you.
The most important question is not whether you want to move - it's do you want to separate? If she wants to split up and you don't, your best call is to a counselor, therapist, minister, etc.. If both of you agree that it is time to part company, chances are pretty good that a year from now neither one of you will be living in the house. In the big picture, you likely won't lose much by being the first to go.
Your question is pretty broad. You did not mention possible issues regarding children, alimony or property distribution. You will get better advice if you consult with a local attorney who will talk with you about your circumstances in greater detail.