First, let me tell you that I am sorry to hear about the terrible things your spouse has done to you and your daughter through his abandonment. Let me answer your questions as follows:
Your husband does have to provide child support for your daughter, which you stated that are already working on.
You do not need an attorney to file for spousal support or custody in North Carolina, but we highly recommend it. There are a number of deadlines and rules which may seriously compromise someone filing their own lawsuit.
There are agencies that provide pro bono, or free, legal services and you can contact the North Carolina State Bar Association to ask for referrals. Some ways for you to finance your legal representation, which you may not have thought about, would be to place the fee on a credit card, ask friends and family for assistance, or cash in savings bonds. Depending on all the circumstances of your case, the court may be able to make an interim distribution of funds from your husband’s account(s) shortly after you file for Equitable Distribution, which could also assist you with legal fees.
Lastly, I believe that your husband’s actions during the initial separation period may constitute fault, which would affect your alimony claim.
Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
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 but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.