Hopefully, an attorney will reply to this also.
I can tell you from what I have seen that there is no “trial separation”. In my opinion, you can not work on a marriage if you are not living in the same home. If there is the possibility of the marriage being salvaged I suggest going to counseling and working on the marriage rather than separating. “Trial separation” is a term people use to make the truth of the matter easier on the ego. IMHO it does sound less harsh but in reality it is only drawing out the inevitable.
Unless there is a custody agreement or court order both parents have equal rights to the children. If she leaves with the children without telling you, you are entitled to know of their whereabouts and be able to see your children at any time. Other than filing for custody if this happens though, I do not know for certain what you would need to do.
Inheritance is considered separate property, meaning that it is not divided as an asset unless it has been given to both of you or she has stated that it is considered marital. She could probably ask for post separation support or alimony to help with finacial issues due to the differences in income, but it’s possible that it would be limited due to her ability to work.

  1. You should not move out before consulting an attorney regarding the specific facts in your case. Moving out can have an impact on your custodial schedule and support obligations. I recommend you read this article on your website: … ticles.asp

  1. Her inheritance is considered her separate property. It is not clear to me if she is receiving income from this inheritance. If the inheritance is not producing income, based on the figures you gave me, you would not be entitled to alimony. If she is the primary caregiver of the children and is working part time because she is providing care for the children, a court is not going to force her to work full time. That means that you may be ordered to pay your Wife alimony based on your current incomes. Support obligations are established using the incomes that existed on the date the parties separated, and for the period of time shortly before they separated.

  2. If she leaves with the children and denies you access to them, you could file a lawsuit and sue for custody or visitation. If you are the primary caregiver then it is likely the court would order the children be returned to your care.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Voice: 704.307.4600
Main Fax: 704.943.0044

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
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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.

My wife and I have been married for 10 years. We have been talking of separating for a while now as we just simply cannot get along. We have been to counseling on several occassions. I have a few questions as this is new to me and lots of confusion. We have 2 kids, 3 yrs and 18 months. I work full time she works part time. We both have college degrees. I make 60K a year, she makes 20K a year.

  1. She has asked me to leave and get an apartment, stay with Dad, etc. as a trial separation. I am hesitant to just up and leave as to how it may affect future outcomes.

  2. Assuming we separate and divorce, should I expect alimony? She has money from an inheritance she received. Plus she has a degree and can work full time. She has worked full time up until about a year ago when she switched to part time.

  3. What rights do I have if she just ups and leaves with the kids without telling me? Can I do anything?

Thanks for any advice…