If I file for separation and move out of the house to an apartment there is no way my wife could afford to pay the mortgage, yet I don’t see her moving out of the house willingly. Realistically, is there any way to file for separation and make her to move to an apartment? If not, then when equitable distribution occurs (aside: at what point does that happen?), would the house likely be awarded to me, her, or would it be required to be sold? We have some equity and I would like to keep the house, but if we sold it then what we would have left is only be enough to pay off our joint credit card debt (after sales transaction fees such as commission).
No, I do not know of any document that would simply evict your spouse from the residence. Either one of you can file a Divorce from Bed and Board, which asks for a judicial separation, but even if you were granted a divorce from bed and board it could take up to six months and your spouse may still not be evicted. You also must allege that your wife is guilty of a marital fault to be granted a DBB.
The more common option would be for you to move out to a cheap place for the purposes of beginning the separation period. If you are on the mortgage with your wife, then it is certainly in your best interests to ensure that the mortgage is being paid, especially with equity in the home. It would be a good idea to try and work out a separation agreement with your wife that would cover all aspects of the marriage, including property division and child support/custody. You can divide the marital estate (assets and debts) through an equitable distribution filing in court, however the easiest and less expensive route would be to resolve that in a separation agreement. Good luck to you.