23 years- my husband is leaving Dec 31st. leaving me with mtg and wants me to pay half our bills- i can't possibly pay. we have 2 kids - 16 & 17. we will have to leave our home. i'm devastated. 16 wants to live with dad. 17 will be 18 in a few months. i can't afford to put any money into lawyers. i need advice that i can use.
You can get short term alimony as soon as he leaves. You will probably have to sell the house and get yourself into something that you can afford.
Length of alimony -- 23 years is a long marriage. If you stayed home to care for the children and the two of you have not put away enough assets, then you will get at least a few years of alimony. Otherwise, you will get a larger share of the marital assets.
When to file -- When he has packed up all of his belongings and is ready to go, have your paperwork ready. You can get it from the courthouse. As soon as he leaves, file at the courthouse. Usually within six weeks, you will have a conference that will award you short term alimony from the date that you filed.
You will need to be careful regarding support. If the younger child moves in with your husband then you may owe child support. If he makes more money than you, you can seek spousal support from him. It depends on your incomes how much each of you would owe the other. You should make a list of all assets and debts owned or owed by either of you and then sit down with an attorney to discuss your options. Real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, pensions/retirements are all assets to be divided, regardless of how they are currently titled. Knowing the incomes of both of you will also help when discussing your situation.
You several options, you can try contating your local bar assocation about seeking a pro bono attorney to assist you in your divorce and custody matters. If your 16 child lives with your husband you maybe required to pay child support; however you may be able to get spousal support. You should have a consult with an attorney before the 31st to at least understand your options so you know how to proceed before he decieds to leave and leaves you out stranded, so-to-say.