Disputed Date of Separation

My wife left with children for a week’s vacation to “have some time to think”. Subsequently she spent 2 weeks at a friend’s house. My youngest child stayed with her while my oldest visited my parents. She asked me to move out of our family home and, foolishly believing that she just needed more space/time to think, I agreed to take a tiny apartment near work for a few months. I continued to pay all the bills and give her spending money as she does not work. Within two weeks of my departure she had moved in her lover and changed the locks on the house. i realized at that point that my marriage was over.

Despite profound shock, I worked out a separation agreement with her, visited my children and continued to be responsible for the bulk of the monthly expenses. A few weeks ago my wife informed me that she had never signed our separation agreement and that she wanted further provisions made. She retained an attorney who redrafted the agreement into terms that were completely unacceptable. I am now realizing that my wife intends to follow an adversarial “winner-take-all” approach.

I wish to craft (or have an attorney craft) a new separation agreement and I believe the official date of separation should be (at the earliest) the date I moved into my apartment, not the date she left to go on vacation. There is a 3 week difference in the two dates, and the later date of separation is important because it is beyond dispute that in those 3 weeks (and likely sooner) she was committing adultery-- which is relevant if only in terms of alimony.

She wishes to claim the day she went on vacation as our date of separation. Can she sustain the claim that we separated simply because she left the house briefly (3 weeks)? Even if we maintained a joint checking account, had no separate residences and I was not aware that she intended to end the marriage? Thank you.

The date of separation is the date that you began living separate and apart with at least one of you having the intention to remain apart. I do not believe a vacation constitutes a separation, especially since she returned home thereafter.