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Married 23 years and am very unhappy. I want a divorce but dont know if I can make it on my own. Where do I begin?

Monterey, CA |

We have 2 kids and I stay home. He makes about $130,000 a year.We own a home.If I divorce him how much will I recieve? Will I be able to stay on his health coverage? He handles all the finances so I'm not able to "hide" money to get myself started. Where do I begin?

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Attorney answers 2


I would suggest that you begin by consulting with a well qualified family law attorney. If you need to pay a fee for the consultation, you might want to do so in cash so that your spouse does not get notice of that meeting.

All that I can tell you is that you are in a long term marriage and you will most likely receive spousal support for an indefinite period of time. A person cannot place their ex spouse on the medical coverage. Therefore, if you divorce, you will need to obtain your own medical insurance. If you are somehow uninsurable because of pre-existing medical conditions, you might want to get a legal separation instead of a divorce.

The child support will last until the youngest child is 18 AND graduates from high school OR 19 years of age, whichever first occurs.

I have been answering many questions on AVVO and giving my opinion of what will occur if a matter went before a judicial officer based upon the facts as I understand them. However, I want to point out that such an opinion is based upon many factors, not the least of which is that the party have an experienced family law attorney representing them on the matter. If facts and issues of law are not properly placed before the court, the results could be very different than otherwise expected.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


You should absolutely begin by consulting with a family law attorney, and possibly several attorneys if you are at all uncomfortable at your first meeting.

Your questions can and should all be answered in much more detail than I can provide you based on the limited information in front of me, but I shall do my best to at least give you some idea of what you can expect in a divorce.

California is what is known as a community property state, which means, in a very simplified version, that all assets acquired during marriage, regardless of whether earned or purchased by you our your husband, are presumed to be equally shared between the two of you. For example, if you bought your house during the marriage, it's very likely both yours, and if you were to sell it, the equity would be divided equally. If your husband has a pension or a retirement, you are entitled to one-half the community interest (not the same as 1/2 of the entire plan, but it will likely be very close to half). If you have credit card debt, each of you is obligated for one-half of the amount.

As to whether or not you can stay on his health coverage, so long as the divorce proceedings are still going on, he is required to keep you on his plan. After the divorce is finalized, you will have to provide your own insurance, although you will likely be eligible for COBRA coverage.

Child support (if either child is 18 or younger and still a high school student) is based on two factors: each parent's income and the amount of time the child(ren) spend(s) with each parent. Spousal support is divided into temporary and permanent support, better referred to as "pre-divorce" and "post-divorce" support. Support while your divorce is pending (temporary support) is based on income. Support after your judgment (permanent support) is based on 14 different factors.

A family law attorney can help you plan for your divorce and set you up the best way possible financially. Good luck!

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