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I have recently told my husband I want a divorce. He is upset and won't leave. How do I get him to leave?

Foxboro, MA |

He is making it hard on me by punishing me for wanting the divorce. But he is also causing the kids to be upset and cry. Forced me to recently start sleeping on the sofa. Is there anything I can do. I am going to file against him but was told it takes up to six weeks to get served. What can I do?

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Attorney answers 5


It doesn't take six weeks to get served. If the divorce paperwork is ready, you can file the case and possibly have him served the same day. In order to resolve immediate issues such as possession of the marital home, temporary child support, etc. you will want to enter a Motion for Temporary Orders.

You'd be well advised to seek the advice of a divorce attorney. If you can't afford one, begin by speaking for free with the Attorney for the Day at the Norfolk Probate and Family Court about your situation, and going on one or more free consultations with attorneys (you can pick good ones here, or by calling the Massachusetts and Boston bar associations). Be aware that if your husband earns the lion's share of the money in your marriage, you may well be able to get him to pay for your attorney's fees. Also, you can begin to read up here:

Even if you're not low-income, the second guide is excellent for learning about divorce and separation in Massachusetts. Good luck.


After commencing the divorce action you are permitted to file a motion asking the Court to enter certain temporary orders pending the ultimate outcome of the case. As part of that process, you can ask for an order directing your husband to vacate the house, granting you exclusive use and possession. You have to show that him staying puts you in imminent fear of physical or emotional harm. To determine whether such a motion should be filed you really need to consult with an attorney so that he/she can obtain more information than posted here. Also it does not take six weeks to have your husband served with the summons/complaint for divorce... to actually get a hearing date in front of the Court on a motion for temporary orders it could take 4-6 weeks depending upon the judge's schedule, but even then if the issue is an emergency you can request to be heard as soon as possible.

The above answer is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You can contact me directly at 978-657-5600 or by email at

Marcia J Mavrides

Marcia J Mavrides


The processing of filing a divorce complaint in Norfolk County (jurisdiction for your case if you live in Foxboro) does take a few weeks, but there are actions you can be taking in the meantime to prepare for important hearings. This is best done with a family law attorney, who can help you navigate through the divorce process. In order to obtain a court order to force your husband to leave the marital house, you must file a Motion and affidavit that contains facts proving that the health safety and welfare of you and/or your children will be endangered or substantially impaired if he is not ordered to vacate the marital home. Additionally, it is important to prepare for other orders (referred to as Temporary Orders) regarding family support (child support and alimony), child custody, parenting time, payment of mortgage/household expenses, health insurance and other matters relevant to your circumstances.


A divorce can be filed and served very quickly but that my not cause him to leave the house. Temporary motions can be filed (which might take 6 bweeks or more to be heard unless there is an emergency) asling that he be moved from the house and for support. An experienced family attorney can assist you with the Probate Court system.

This is not legal advice until I am retained and have reviewed all facts about your situation.


It seems that it would be in your best interest to file as soon as possible and send the summons to the proper sheriff's office immediately upon receipt. After you receive the return of service and submit it to the court, your husband will be required to answer your complaint. After service, you should immediately begin drafting a motion for temporary orders asking the court to order you husband to vacate the marital home. I would file this motion after receiving your husband's answer and having a chance to review it. I strongly suggest you contact a family law attorney as you want to make sure you are properly represented through the divorce process and understand your rights.


It does not take six weeks to get an opposing party served. Your lawyer should go to Canton (your court will likely be the Norfolk County Probate and Family Court) and file the Complaint and wait (it may take an hour or so) for the Summons. Whoever is hired to serve the Complaint should get it done the same day...Along with the Complaint, a Motion for Temporary Orders ought to be filed/served and ask that your Husband be ordered to leave. A Judge may find it hard to rule on a Motion to Vacate, so a parenting plan "five days you -- two days him -- five days him -- two days you, etc." may make better sense.

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