Cannot afford to live after separation


My wife and I have separated, unfortunately. We have signed separation papers. She has asked me to move out per our separation agreement and so we can be separate for 1 year before the divorce is final which I did. I own the home and pay everything. The mortgage (I agreed to pay for 3 years per the separation agreement), insurance, two cars (she drives one), electricity, water, cable, internet, phone, food, etc. As well as child support. I have no money to get a place of my own. I am living with a relative who is two and a half hours away. It cost $450 a month for gas to travel to and from work which is in the same city as where my house is that my spouse is living. I have asked my boss to let me work from home 3 days a week to save on gas. If I could not work from home it would be approx. $1200 a month in gas. We have a joint checking account which keeps going into the negative because of this. She is trying to find a job so that I can move back to the same city and get an apartment. She has applied for food stamps and wic. She is looking but is not having any luck. She has been a stay at home mom for 6 yrs which I am grateful. We both agreed on this. But this is hindering her in finding employment. She has submitted hundreds of applications w/ no calls. I have visitation with my kids but I am afraid that if we continue down this path I will no longer be able to afford to see them or get to work and could lose my job. If my car breaks down or I have a flat tire, I could not get it fixed. I am selling what every I can for gas money and stopped paying on my 401K which I am not eligible to get a loan or distribution. It is only $3000. She has also sold some things of her own to help with the bills. She does have a part time job but only gets about $70 a week, which helps a little bit but not enough. I cannot pay my relative for letting me stay or eating their food. I also cannot do anythings with my two children when I have them. All of our money is in our joint checking account. She spends what she needs on her and the children to survive and I spend money on gas. We are living paycheck to paycheck with no savings.

What are my rights to the home. Can I legally move back in even if she does not want me to? She has the keys. I still have belongings in the house. What are my options?

Thank you for your response.


I AM NOT A LAWYER. just a person with an opinion.

If I were your wife, I would have you move back in. You are supporting everyone, as you have for years, but living alone that doesn’t leave means for you to support yourself. I don’t know what legal rights to the house that you have, because I am not a lawyer. It just makes more sense for you to live there until she is able to help support herself and the children. It would be difficult, but it just makes sense.


If you have a signed separation agreement, the terms of the agreement should govern what should happen to the house and your belongings. It should also govern what you pay in support. If you do not have these terms in an agreement, you should work towards putting the house on the market and decreasing the monthly needs of the whole family while she seeks a new, better paying job. If you cannot come to an agreement, you may have to file an action for equitable distribution to have the court order that the house be sold.

If you have moved out of the residence, she can have you arrested for criminal domestic trespass if you return to the residence uninvited.