Greetings. I became lost in your question, so let me give the best possible answer I can:
If you are just deciding to separate, you can move out, but you may want to sign a non-abandonment agreement first if you are not ready to deal with the alimony and equitable distribution issues.
No, filing for divorce is a completely different process from dividing up assets. You can divide assets at any time up to the date of the divorce. After the divorce, you lose the right to divide up assets through the court.
Have you thought how you will split up the 401(k)? You need to understand how to do this in a tax free manner through a QDRO.
Rather or not you like it, it sounds like you need to go see an attorney and have a separation agreement drafted. Thank you.
Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax
10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.