I wish I had read this site BEFORE we split, but unfortunately hind sight is 20/20. We split in July. She remains in the home and I pay the mortgage and all the bills. The home and acerage is the only asset, children are all grown. We have no SA. Three questions:

  1. I had to move back in to the marital home for a week in November while my new residence was readied. Did that legally start the separation calender over?

  2. She is unemployed and has been for two years. On advice of her attorney, she refuses to sign anything, including an SA. They also claim they will file abandonment proceedings against me if I don’t continue to pay at least the mortgage for her. How is that possible?

  3. How can I bring an end to this financial extortion and uncertainty while waiting for NC’s magical year to elapse?

Not necessarily. If you did not intend to resume your marital relationship the court may find that your date of separation in July stands. I believe the real issue here is whether or not it appeared to others that you had reconciled, as the statue does include language that states a holding out to the public that you are living as married persons can destroy the date of separation and re-set the clock.
She may file a claim for abandonment whether you pay the mortgage or not, I would suggest you move forward and file an action for ED to resolve the issue with the home. You do not have to wait to file an action for division of property, and can do so as soon as you are separated.