Desperate for closure

Brief synopsis:
Married 19 yrs to military husband when he retired after 30 years service. I know that I am entitled to some of his retirement.
We have 2 minor children and we Separated 6/26/12 thankfully, but up to that point we lived in same house but different rooms. I discovered that he had been hiding terrible secrets for the length of the marriage, and after 9 deployments as an alcoholic, the demons were unbearable for him to hide any longer.
He is now a contractor oversees 15 months with a take home pay of $17, 000 a month.
I have a BS with student loan debt. NC State Bar certified paralegal.
Domestic violence (physical and mental) was an issue against me and social services got involved before he retired from military.
We have no other joint property in question.
I would like to have primary custody of minor children.
I was working full time up until November 2012 at a law firm, but my youngest child was put on medication for her ADHD, and after an exhaustive 6 months of violent outbursts due to the medication, I had to quit my job to be available for extensive therapy sessions for her. It was devastating to me since I love what I do and passionate about the law.
So, she is better without meds and I remain unemployed. (Myself and the girls continue therapy to this day)
He has been paying me $5000 a month for support without an order in place. It goes towards bills, rent and food. Nothing more.
I can’t afford to pay for a divorce with ED and custody/CS, but need to be free of him. I paid an attorney to look over an agreement to lay the foundation for AD, ED, CS, and custody. When he was on leave in April he received the agreement and sought counsel. Still no resolution.
He also has mental issues that are almost delusional which make him believe that we will get back together.
I can’t afford all the mediation, attorneys fees, and filing fees. I know I could file as indigent but I am no match for his mental issues coupled with his counsel in court to do this alone.
I was willing to let everything go to include alimony, retirement, stocks, bank acct division, but not my kids, if he was willing to let me go with an absolute divorce judgment. Nope!
I need to be done. Done with all the pain, and start living. How can I resolve this all quickly? If I refuse joint custody, then I will have to prove his inability to parent as it stands now. If I accept joint custody, then my kids are forced to see him or I am held in contempt. They don’t want to spend time with him if he is going to bad mouth me, and they have told him this, but his delusion prevents him from hearing it.
I need an attorney that will help guide me towards resolution, but again I can’t afford to pay $10, 000 for representation.
What is my first step towards absolute divorce but also preserving my right for ED of his retirement money. I need a divorce and my children safe and happy. I will have to file subpoenas for DSS as well as discover all of his accounts that he has hidden from the family.
I need direction, since I am beyond exhausted from the chaos.

If you are unable to reach an amicable resolution, you need to file suit against your husband for division of assets, child and spousal support and child custody along with the divorce complaint. If you do not have a complaint for equitable distribution and spousal support pending at the time the divorce is granted, you lose your right to pursue these claims. It sounds like you need a consultation with an attorney in your area to discuss your situation and determine the best way to proceed, but if you are unable to afford traditional representation, you should consider using Rosen Online. In determining whether you can afford an attorney, you should also know that dependent spouses can ask the court for an award of attorney’s fees for alimony, child support and child custody claims.