Effi Barry, who stood by her husband, Mayor Marion Barry, during his three-month trial on perjury and cocaine possession charges, has moved out of the house they shared in Southeast Washington, the mayor's office confirmed yesterday.

The move followed months of speculation that the 12-year marriage was on the rocks. During the trial, federal prosecutors called a parade of witnesses to portray Marion Barry as an obsessive womanizer, while Effi Barry has given several interviews in recent months suggesting that the couple was virtually estranged.

The mayor's press secretary, Lurma Rackley, declined to provide details of the separation or to reveal the location of Effi Barry's new home. "The couple considers this a private matter," Rackley said. "There is no official change in the marital status."

Neither the mayor nor Effi Barry would comment.

It was not clear last night when the move occurred, but sources said they believed it took place on Monday evening. The couple's 10-year-old son, Christopher, accompanied his mother in the move, sources said.

"She has said Christopher needed to be out of that situation where there were so many bad memories," one friend said yesterday. "She needed to be in a situation where he could have a fresh start."

Effi Barry has approached her alma mater, Hampton University in Hampton, Va., about a position there, but no agreement has been reached, a spokeswoman for the school confirmed this week. Effi Barry has degrees in home economics from Hampton and in health education from City College in New York.

Several sources said yesterday that Marion Barry has been negotiating with the University of the District of Columbia about a teaching position in its political science department. The university's board met this week to discuss the idea. Sources said the body did not reject the idea outright but agreed that Barry would have to apply for the job in the normal fashion or someone would have to endow a chair that he could fill.

Over the weekend, the Barrys attended the wedding of City Administrator Carol B. Thompson and held a brunch for Thompson and her husband at the Sumner School.

A guest at the wedding said that "they acted like a real married couple. After Carol and Curtis {Cole} started dancing, and then the parents, Marion and Effi started dancing. They were beaming and you would have thought Carol was their daughter. By their spirit Saturday, I would have never guessed this was happening."

Despite the Barrys' display of affection, other friends and associates were not surprised at yesterday's news. "Anybody who's seen them together in recent years could see that they were not intimate," said one longtime associate of the mayor's. "You could see it in their body language."

At the brunch Sunday, Effi Barry toasted the newlyweds and remarked that she was happy that the occasion would be the Barrys' "last official appearance as the Mayor and Mrs. Barry." The comment struck some guests as odd because there is still more than a month left in the mayor's term, and there are typically holiday season events attended by both Barrys.

Politics and the public glare had been part of the Barrys' relationship since they met at a campaign rally in June 1976. Barry -- who had been a president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; a founder of Youth Pride Inc., a job training program in Washington; and a member of the D.C. School Board -- was then campaigning for reelection to the D.C. Council. Effi Cowell was working for the D.C. Department of Environmental Services. She had been married once; he had been married twice.

Shortly after he announced his bid for mayor, the couple were married in February 1978.

This year their relationship had its most public airing with the arrest of Marion Barry in January on a cocaine possession charge. The FBI taped Barry meeting with Hazel Diane "Rasheeda" Moore, a woman with whom he acknowledged having a relationship, and taped the mayor smoking crack cocaine and asking for sex. The videotape was shown worldwide.

During the summer trial Effi Barry attended the proceedings almost every day, sitting in the courtroom hooking a rug or staring at the witnesses, and walking stoically with her husband out of the courthouse and into an army of reporters.

In an interview on the television show "A Current Affair," Effi Barry discussed the impact of her husband's drinking on their marriage, revealed that she and the mayor had had perhaps a half dozen "family-style" dinners in 12 years, and said that when she learned of his arrest, she asked, "Who was she?" She said that although she was angry, she didn't chastise him, saying, "You don't kick a dog when he's down."

A month later, in a rally at the Reeves Municipal Center the day after the verdict, Effi Barry said, "This is a time of great introspection, this is a time for prayerful humility. It is human to err. It is divine to forgive." In another display of intense loyalty, Effi Barry submitted a pre-sentencing letter to the judge saying "what further punishment does this man deserve? For certain, there can be no greater sentence than to have the whole world tune in to your day in court as you are publicly castrated."

In one of the few joint interviews the Barrys did during their marriage, the couple did indicate they were struggling with their future.

"{We are taking it} a day at a time. Find happiness in each other and happiness in our son. We are going to be together and do all we can to live a good life," Marion Barry told Barbara Harrison of Channel 4 in an interview that aired the day his trial began last June. He was almost buoyant. When the camera turned to Effi Barry, she was not as expansive but smiled, saying, "We are going to try."

In interviews with Effi Barry during the last few years, Harrison had asked her about the rumors that the couple were breaking up, establishing separate residences and dating other people. "Since the day we got married we were getting a divorce," she once said. "And since the day we got married he's always been involved with other women ... so they say."

On many occasions Effi Barry spoke bluntly about how she felt the media interfered with any normalcy the couple might have in their home life. Her close friends rarely spoke about the Effi Barry they knew, building a wall of silence around her. Other acquaintances described her as caring, gentle, courageous, spiritual and totally devoted to Christopher. All the Barrys posed for a family Christmas card last year.

In July several hundred of Effi Barry's friends organized a tea to show their concern for what the mayor's wife called "my family's personal suffering." At the event Effi Barry cried openly.

The mayor, who attended the event but did not address the crowd, told a reporter, "This is more of a spiritual tribute to Effi. She's been an outstanding wife and a strong person who has helped me endure."

She reportedly is working on a book with a Los Angeles literary agency.

It is believed that the mayor is still living in the family home. The house at 3607 Suitland Rd. SE has itself been a subject of political controversy for the couple. Shortly after the Barrys moved into the house, it was revealed that the couple received a discounted mortgage from Independence Federal Savings and Loan, headed by Barry friend William B. Fitzgerald. The Barrys subsequently relinquished the discount.

Some of the Barrys' friends and associates expressed sadness over the latest chapter in the saga of Barry's political and personal demise. Some also expressed admiration for Effi Barry's staunch support.

During that time, the mayor was arrested in an FBI sting at the Vista Hotel, forced to abandon his reelection campaign, convicted of cocaine possession, sentenced to six months in jail and resoundingly rejected in a last-ditch effort to save his political career by seeking a seat on the D.C. Council. He is free on personal recognizance pending assignment to a specific prison.

"I feel great sadness for him and his family, but I wish Effi the best," said Council member William Lightfoot (I-At Large).

Council member H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) said the separation "doesn't come as any surprise. ... I feel sadness over this whole episode."

In the December issue of Washingtonian magazine the Barrys are pictured jumping on the blue carpet of his office. They are smiling. She is shoeless. The caption reads, "at first Effi Barry tried jumping in her heels and didn't want to hold her husband's hand because she said it threw her off balance. In the end, she held her shoes in one hand and Marion's hand in the other and D.C.'s First Couple -- he exultant, she poised, as usual -- rose together."

Staff writer Keith Harriston contributed to this report.