Generally, you should pay 1/2 of anything that has both of your names on it. However, if you are moving out, you should probably go ahead and have any utilities that are in your name transferred to your spouse’s name, so that you can get your own utilities at your new residence. In terms of larger debts, like the mortgage or credit card payments, you can certainly stop making those payments. However, if your name is on the accounts, and the bills do not get paid, the creditors will be looking for both of you, and it could damage your respective credit ratings on joint accounts. If your wife moves out, and you remain in the home, then the same rules can apply.
Based on what you’ve told me in this post, I cannot tell you if you will have to pay alimony. In North Carolina, alimony is based on dependency. If your wife is the dependent spouse (makes less money than you), then alimony is a possibility. However, if there has been some marital misconduct on her part, she may not be entitled to alimony. Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb on how much alimony will be paid or for how long.
I suggest you contact an attorney and begin working on a separation agreement that will divide these responsibilities between you and your spouse if you think the separation is going to become a reality.
Best wishes to you!
Shonnese D. Stanback
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.256.1534 direct voice
919.256.1667 direct fax
919.787.6668 main voice
919.787.6361 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.