I’ll try to answer some of these questions as I can. Maybe some of the others can add their input also, but at least you will have a start.
I don’t know whether or not this would be abadonment because he is continuing to pay the bills and you have had contact with him…
NC law is that separation begins the day that you begin to live separate and apart from one another. Realistically, he should have had a separation agreement prior to leaving the residence but since he has continued to be financially responsible it’s very doubtful that it would be seen as abandonment.
No, you do not have to wait for him to make the first move, or even decide what HE wants. If you have decided that you do not want to allow him to come back to the marriage should he choose to, then that is your right. Since he has left the home, you do not have to allow him to come back. You should let him know, in writing, that he is not to come to the home unless you invite him or he has your permission.
If he has left the marital home, you can consult with an attorney and get a separation agreement drawn up, change the locks, and open a separate banking account. You are entitled to 1/2 the marital assets up to the date of separation. Since you have been a dependant spouse, you are entitled to alimony, which in the end may or may not be enough to cover the mortgage and living expenses that you currently have. You may need to begin looking for work so that you are not dependent on him completely for your wellfare. That is not to say that you will not get alimony but it’s a percentage based on several factors. If you begin working, you may be able to make up for the amount that you do not get from him.
You will need to consult an attorney and begin to familiarize yourself with your financial situation. Yes, he could just stop paying all the bills but it would not be in his best interest to do this since it would be his credit ruined.
Possibly contact the utility companies and find out if your name is on the accounts. If not then you need to find out what to do to add it so that you can make adjustments. Then when you begin work, you could contact the utility companies and have his name removed from the account. Then request that he pay the money directly to you and you pay the utility bills.
Please begin keeping records of conversations or any interactions.
Consultations for attorneys are normally reasonable and you should consult an attorney before you do anything.
I understand that you have had the rug pulled out from under you. You are still trying to catch your breath, but you are doing the right thing. Contact the bank and get a copy of the current bank statement, or find the most recent one mailed to you. Find out if there are other statements from retirement accounts, 401K, savings accounts…
By letting him know that you are not going to just sit back and wait for him to decide your fate, it may jolt him into action. Regardless of whether you work things out or do indeed separate, your life is changing. If you take control of it now and realize that you do have some options, it will be easier to handle 3 months or a year from now. Please consult with an attorney. Take care of and protect yourself and your children financially first. Hang in there…