Helena and others can help you more, but here’s what I can tell you:
- Separation is simply the two of you living apart. There’s no filing for a legal separation in this state. However, you may wish to negotiate a “separation agreement” between you and your STBX, which would have to be signed by both parties and notarized to be valid. It is this agreement, if done properly and looked over by an attorney, which may protect you financially and legally.
The separation agreement can address such things as alimony and distribution of debts/assets. It can also delineate what happens in the event of a reconciliation.
2.) Unless you file for a divorce from bed & board (you can find a definition elsewhere on this site), you must wait the full year to file for divorce. Since she has yo-yo’ed back and forth between leaving and has cheated on you, you may be able to file for the divorce from bed & board. Not sure.
3.) To protect your assets and finances, make sure all your financial accounts are separated. Do not allow her access to your bank accounts. You may also wish to place a freeze on your credit report, which would discourage her opening up any accounts jointly or under your name.
4.) To protect yourself, period, keep all communication that you can obtain (emails, cell phone records, voice mails, etc). If you are talking over the phone about stuff, keep a phone log with the date, time/duration of the call, and some notes about what was discussed.
5.) I’d also change the locks on the house to prevent any unauthorized visits.
If you have proof that she committed alimony (like that email), then you do not have to pay her alimony should she attempt to get it.
Sorry you’re going through this, but better to be safe. Look after yourself, take care of yourself. Good luck!