Too Poor to Separate

A bit of history; I am the bread winner and my wife is a stay at home mother. We have 3 children, 13,10 and 6, all in private school. She cheated on me 9 years ago, we reconciled but recently things have been standoffish between us and then I found out she has been Facebook stalking the guy she cheated with. When I confronted her about it, she stated that she is no longer interested in working on our marriage.
I would like to begin the process of divorce by moving out but cannot afford to pay rent as well as the mortgage and private school education.
Our home has a basement with a 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a separate entrance. It doesn’t have a kitchen, only a microwave and small fridge.
If I moved into the basement for a year, would that count as a year of separation and therefore be able to file for divorce?

Living in the basement of the marital residence would not count as being separated for absolute divorce purposes because this is still in the same residence. You and your wife should have two separate residences in order to be considered living separate and apart.

It is possible to negotiate a separation agreement and all terms of the separation and divorce (i.e. equitable distribution (property division), alimony, child custody, and child support) while still living together in the marital residence. Then you would separate contemporaneously upon the execution of the separation agreement. If two spouses are able to do this and live civilly, the advantage is that once you separate, all the decisions have already been made and both spouses already know what is obligated of each of them, who is going to pay what, how much money there will be in alimony and child support, etc.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.