The dilemma is familiar: Complex legal problem which will require experienced family law attorney, but no money to hire one. Complicating matters is the fact that if I win, I might be entitled to alimony for 16 years, but can't afford to fight for it. Not fighting might result in getting nothing. Then the killer: Where do I start? To be blunt, in my opinion it won't matter where you start because you have little or no chance of going it alone. The rules of court and laws are simply beyond the ability of most lay people to handle. Would you consider doing brain surgery on yourself? You've got just about as much chance of success in representing yourself and getting what is rightfully yours as you would cutting your brain open to mend something inside. As many times as I have heard this exact dilemma, I still have no answer that will work for you. I would ask one simple question: Have you even asked a lawyer how much he/she would charge and if there might be a payment plan, and would he consider getting some of the fees from the deadbeat husband? Or is that just such an outrageous idea its not worth considering?
You must timely file a response to your husband's Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or run the risk of having a Default Judgment entered against you. The issues you present with a 16 year marriage and three children really require that you personally consult with an attorney in order to properly evaluate all options available to you.
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