Legal separation w/minors and house


How do I start the separation process? My husband is an alcoholic (sweet when sober, verbally abusive drunk)and I was told this was a legitimate divorce reason. I have no money. I have always been home with my children 5, 2 and 4 months. I had heard that I can file the papers and after 1 year can initiate a divorce. Do I need a lawyer for a separation? I have no idea about any of this or about support. Thanks in advance,

Liz Lyngaas